We had our last camping trip of the season planned (yes, already – school starts in only two weeks!) to the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. There is an accessible alpine lake there called Lake Anne, nestled in a cirque beneath a formation of mountains called the Three Apostles. It seemed a great place for a July camp.
Things started to unravel the day before we left. Alex was really enjoying the day camp that he was enrolled in, and Fridays are supposed to be the best day. He was going to miss the next Friday because of Russia Camp, so he and Lara decided to stay home. Evan was up for another father/son trip like last year, but later that evening started getting jealous of what he was going to miss at day camp, so he too decided to stay in town. That left Laika and me to go it alone.
The Collegiate Peaks are one of the more dramatic ranges in Colorado, with several 14,000 foot peaks, and plenty of scenery. The drive in along Clear Creek revealed many excellent car camping sites. We’ll definitely visit this area again. Unfortunately, our MDX wasn’t up for the bulk of the 4WD road leading to the wilderness boundary. That meant our hike would be extended by another mile and a half.
What I failed to account for in my planning was the extreme snowfall we saw in the Rockies this winter, and the fact that the lake was on a north-facing slope, shaded by the three tall peaks along the continental divide. There were many large snow fields blocking the trail, making it very difficult to find the path to the lake. Laika and I eventually made it though, only to find the entire area still covered in snow and ice.
We made our way back down the trail about a half a mile before we came across a nice campsite near a stream with a view of Mount Huron to the north. We decided to set up camp there. I decided to set the alarm for early morning for my first attempt to photograph the Milky Way. In another sign of poor planning, I realized that I had no visibility to the brightest part of the galaxy to the south. I did get some good practice shots though.
So this trip was a series of happy mistakes, but definitely worth the effort. We’ll be back here in the future.