Friday, July 11, 2008

Crater Lake - Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado - Backpacking

The Fourth of July fell on a Friday this year which meant a three-day weekend for me. My friend Josh has been wanting me to visit him in Colorado since he moved there and this seemed liked the perfect weekend to do it. Rob also had the weekend free so we bought our tickets and headed to Boulder after work on Thursday. Josh picked us up at the airport in Denver and a short drive later we were at his place in Boulder. Since it was a bit late we hit up Pearl Street for some beer and snacks before bed. We woke up early Friday morning and after some tofu scramble (yummy) we headed west. We drove through Rocky Mountain National Park on our way to Indian Peaks Wilderness area and the views were amazing as we passed over the Continental Divide. We saw some pretty hardcore bikers riding up over the pass at 12,000 feet - that must have been a wild ride down! A few hours later we reached the trailhead and began our trek toward Crater Lake and Lone Eagle Peak.

I felt a little out of my element walking through all the trees and green things - I feel more at home in the bottom of redrock desert canyons - but this place was amazing and the views kept getting more incredible! The nice thing about hiking in "green" places is that there is no need to carry water - it's all over the place and ready to drink (following some filtering and steri-penning, of course!)

And then came Lone Eagle Peak .. I think this is the coolest peak I have ever seen. Rob and Josh are drooling to climb it someday. I'll stick to my canyons.

We camped overnight in the drainage basin of Crater Lake. I had a perfect view of Lone Eagle Peak from the tent "window" and the temps cooled off enough at that elevation to make for some really comfortable sleeping (another benefit I suppose to "green" places). On Saturday we frolicked around the lakes below Lone Eagle Peak before heading back to the trailhead. The big black cloud of thunder and lightning that usually follows me on all my hikes waited until the very end - a perfect backpacking trip. That evening we ate some amazing Tibetan food at Sherpa's Adventure restaurant in Boulder. We spent Sunday hanging out in Denver before our flight back to Salt Lake. Josh took us to Water Course, a delicious veg restaurant, for breakfast and we spent the afternoon at a cool bookstore, the devil store itself (REI), and a couple of coffee shops. Josh gets two thumbs up for being an awesome host, selecting a great backpacking trip, and taking good care of my vegan needs. Thanks Josh!!