With a nice 3-day weekend and some fantastic weather we decided to celebrate our independence by packing the family up into the American made gas guzzler and head to the high country.
We headed out in the Lost Creek Wilderness, basically the middle of nowhere Colorado, to avoid the crowds for a little hike, picnic, and of course some fishing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.
Much to our surprise and delight, Elizabeth willingly jumped into the backpack and had a grand old time back there on our hike. She lasted probably about 30 minutes which turned out to be perfect, it got us down off the ridge line and down along the river where there was some nice shade and some great open campsites along the river.
The trail head is in what is known as the Hayman fire burn area where a few years back a fire consumed hundreds of square miles of forest. Within about 10 minutes from the parking lot the trail works its way into a nice lush river valley that was spared by the fire.
We found a nice open area along the river with plenty of shade and open area for a picnic and plenty of space for Elizabeth to explore and plenty of new things for her to discover.
Elizabeth loved climbing on the large boulders and looking at all of the birds and butterflies that were constantly around us. She also made her way over to the little hill on the edge of the path to climb a bit.
Who knew Mushrooms were so fascinating?!
I of course strung up a little fly rod and jumped in for some dry fly action with the little brookies in the creek.
What these fish lack in size they more than make up for in their beauty and willingness to take large dry flies from the surface.
Kate also took a turn with the fly rod with Elizabeth looking on with interest. She eventually wanted to take a turn too. I got a nice little shot of Kate performing a perfect roll cast from the tight cover of the stream bank. Nicely done!Elizabeth was eying the river all day long and I finally convinced her to come with me out to the rock in the middle. Even on a hot day in July the mountain streams are very cold and with runoff still in progress and all the rain we have been having it was a little off color. About 5 minutes in the water and my feet were numb, but our expedition to the rock was successful. After lunch and out little trip to the rock our little explorer was getting tired. We packed it up and did a couple of quick pictures with the camera on a timer to get the whole family and they we were on our way home.
On the way back Elizabeth fell asleep in a matter of minutes.
Along the trail were a wonderful variety of wildflowers in full bloom. We stopped to take a few pictures, a couple of which are worth sharing.
After a few last shots we headed back up to the truck at the top of the trail head. Even though we were in the middle of nowhere, we still passed a surprising number of families out for the day. Considering we were about 10 miles off the nearest paved road who would have guessed it would have been this popular...
Once we made it back to the car, we were so careful to get Elizabeth, still sound asleep, out of the backpack and back into the car without waking her up. It kinda worked at first, but then it quickly became clear that she just experienced her very first power nap. Elizabeth was raring to go with about an hour and forty five minutes still ahead of us. That was one crazy drive home!
What a fun trip. Kate and I look forward to heading back sometime for a quick backpacking trip. Further up the trail the scenery gets incredible and we would really like to take it all in sometime...
Maybe next summer!