Friday, July 22, 2016

Kelly Lake

Medicine Bow Mountains
Well...they can't all be winners. :) For our second backpacking trip of the year, we decided to try something new - Kelly Lake in the Colorado State Forest State Park. This hike starts in the same spot as another lake hike we like (Clear Lake), so we were already ready for kind of a sucky start to a hike. It starts out on a dirt road that just bakes in the sun. What we weren't expecting, though, was horse traffic.

When we got to the trailhead there was a large group of several people and several horses. We asked if they were just starting or just finishing, and they had just finished a multi-day trip. That group didn't account for all of the horse trailers in the parking lot and when we looked at the trail registry we saw that there were a couple more large horsepacking groups of 8-10 in the area. (I can rant on why that's a bummer, but basically it boils down to: horse poop, flies, trash, and trail damage.)

This area looks a lot different than the last time we hiked here. Where there used to be tall pine trees providing shade, there is now a wasteland of downed trees. It looks like this area was a victim of beetle kill, and they have proactively chopped down all of those trees. Not only is it not great to look at, but it also meant no break from the hot sun for the first half of the hike.
Banksy hiking

The last couple miles of the trail are steep and rocky. We were going pretty slow, and Christine was feeling super tired. I took as much stuff from her pack as I could to make the climb easier. It wasn't until the next day that we figured out she was sick, not just tired. She slept almost all of Saturday and didn't feel like eating much. Seven miles into the wilderness isn't the most convenient place to find out that you're sick. Thankfully, she started feeling a little better on Saturday evening and I didn't have to carry her down to the car on Sunday. :)

I did a little fishing and some hiking Saturday with Banksy to a saddle above the lake while Christine rested. We got an early start Sunday to make the nearly 7 mile hike out ahead of the afternoon sun. It's a nice lake, but I don't think we'll be back any time soon. The combination of a long exposed hike, lots of bugs, and more people than I'd expect in the backcountry (at least a dozen) will move this pretty low on my list of hikes to repeat. Iy might be a better one to hit in the fall.

Christine hiking Break time

Banksy had a great time playing in the snow. 2016-07-16_12_banksy_playing_in_the snow (no sound)
2016-07-16_13_banksy_playing_in_the snow (no sound)

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