Sssshhh.......Jan has a birthday coming up, so one of the packages was a new lens for her camera, a 150-600mm telephoto zoom. She was pretty excited!
|One of the first goes with the new lens|
|Looking out across Buena Vista|
to the Collegiate Peaks
We took a ride up to Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the US at 10,152'. It is a cute touristy town. We went on through and decided to see if we could drive out and around Turquoise Lake to the west of town. It's a pretty lake that lies in the shadow of 2 of Colorado's highest mountains, the highest, Mt Elbert at 14,440', and the second highest Mt Massive at 14,428'. This whole area around here is home to many of the 14er's. We found the road that went around the lake, a pretty winding, narrow, scenic road. And, of course it was coffee time, so we found a decent place for that:-)
We were a little more than 3/4's of the way around when we came upon a construction crew repairing the road that told us to turn around and go back the way we had come, it would be a long time before we could get through. So our fairly short drive became a much longer ride. Oh well it was still as beautiful going back as coming.
Jan found a hike she wanted to do up near Cottonwood Pass, 12,126'. It sounded great, about 1.25 miles with a 400' elevation gain in to Lost Lake. We read the description fairly quickly, checked the map, and determined where the "poorly" marked trail began and off we went. There was one other car there when we parked, and off we went down this big trail that got a little smaller after a little over a mile, and then went down, and I mean down. I balked a bit as I hate a trail that goes down first, it means you have to go up to get back, but Jan took off down the trail. Keep in mind now the elevation where we started was 11,750'. I stopped for a bit and then decided that since we were already over a mile in, it wouldn't be too far to the lake so it would be stupid to just wait there. So down I went. When I reached the bottom, Jan had found the occupant of the other car, a nice girl with 2 dogs that was looking for the same lake as we were, and couldn't find it? She had gone up and down 2 different branches of the trail with no luck. So after she bounded back up the "hill", Jan and I went up the hill. I am alive to tell the tale, it wasn't as bad as we, read me, were anticipating. As we were heading back to the truck we saw a bold marking we had missed coming in that was near another path that we figured might just be the correct trail, so we started up it. Now this one was just a steady climb and after a half mile or so we ran into the same girl and her dogs who reported that she didn't find the lake up there either, but there was a view, and also that she had run into 2 other people looking for the same lake that hadn't been able to find it either. So all in all we did a 3.5 mile hike, climbed who knows what vertical elevation gain, and never found the lake, maybe that's why they call it Lost Lake. But we had a delightful picnic on top of Cottonwood Pass.
|Starting the hike|
|That's pretty, but I sure don't see a lake|
When we got back, we did some more checking and found out the trailhead was NOT where it was depicted on the maps. It was another 3/4's of a mile up toward the pass from where we started. We decided to pass on it this trip:-)
Now the Arkansas river goes right through Buena Vista and it is a very popular rafting destination. And since the spring thaw is underway river flows are high, in fact 2570 CFS, which is cracking right along! So what did we do, we booked a half day raft trip, now Jan and I have done this before, but after we thought about it, it had been years, and years ago, and we might have been a bit younger too. It turned out to be a blast, we went with a great company, thank you Tripadvisor, Wilderness Aware Rafting. They were a very friendly, professional, fun company, and we had a great time with our guide, Justin. The water is cold this time of the year so we rented wetsuits and went on our exciting trip through Brown's Canyon, the most popular location for whitewater rafting in the country, and we could see why. It had huge rapids that required us all to paddle as we were instructed to by Justin, and then had nice calmer areas where we could take in the scenery and get ready for the next big set of rapids. It is a great mix. And as compared to our previous experiences long, long ago, it was still similar, but now the rafts self bail, and there are "stirrups" in the bottom of the raft for your feet to help stay in the boat, very welcome I will say.
|Ready to go|
|Some small rapids|
|A few more|
|Our first mounting location|
That's our iPass next to it.