Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Missouri Lakes - Holy Cross Wilderness, Colorado - Backpacking

It's been a long time since I've spent Pioneer Day in Utah. The Utah holiday celebrates the day that Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. I celebrate it each year by leaving the valley.

This year I evacuated to Colorado to visit my friend Josh and new friend Justin. We planned a three day backpacking trip to explore some of Colorado's amazing backcountry. Like my previous backpacking trips with Josh, this one was absolutely amazing and tons of fun. The trips have been an annual tradition and a highlight of each year.

I arrived in Denver on Thursday night and Josh and I discussed the backpacking plan over beers at some fine (and not so fine) drinking establishments in the city. We decided to explore the Holy Cross Wilderness area instead of the originally planned San Juan Mountains Wilderness area due to limited time. After a great vegan breakfast at Watercourse Friday morning, we headed west into the mountains.

The start of our trip

Josh and Justin

Taking a break with Justin

The wildflowers were in full bloom

Welcome to the world, new tent!

We found a great camping spot near Missouri Lakes and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the solitude of the Colorado backcountry. Later that night, a nearly full moon and a star filled sky provided a beautiful backdrop for our campsite and an evening of good conversation. I spent a good portion of the night staring at the stars and the moon through my tent with a lot on my mind.

Justin and Josh .. and my super cute tent!

Slaving away, filtering water for Josh

Sunset at Missouri Lakes

Our second day took us over Missouri Pass and Fancy Pass on the way to Fancy lake. The scenery was amazing - almost everything within view was above treeline.

Missouri Lakes

Missouri Lakes from Missouri Pass

Playing in the snow in July

"The three best friends that anyone could have..."

Josh at Missouri Pass

My favorite part of the trip was the basin between Missouri Pass and Fancy Pass. The scenery was so typically Colorado - jagged peaks, fields of wildflowers, and total solitude. Fancy pass took us up over 12,400 feet and we were all happy to reach camp at Fancy Lake after all of that climbing.

Treasure Vault Lake

The view from Missouri Pass

At the top of Fancy Pass

Justin at Fancy Pass

We enjoyed another perfect evening at Fancy Lake and hiked out on Sunday morning. The trip couldn't have been better or come at a better time for me. The best friends are the ones that are there for you when they don't even know you need them.

Fancy Lake

A waterfall into Fancy Lake

Dinner time

Sunset after a perfect day

"..and my quietest friend... Have I the moonlight? Have I let you in?"