Saturday, July 17, 2010

Colorado Chronicles : Indian Peaks

See that lake in the photo? That's Brainard Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area on the Continental Divide. They call it Indian Peaks because most of the major mountain tops are named for, you got it, Indians! Brainard is one of six lakes that stair-step up the side of the mountain as you enter the area from the trail head. I have fished them all numerous times and I must say, the trout population was severely impacted. :) When I went Indian Peaks, I entered at the trail head and then immediately listened for the sound of running water. That would be the creek that winds up/down the mountain side and acts as a connection to all six lakes and a "private" trail away from other hikers on the main trail. I came to fish, not look at someone's ass for several miles of trail walking uphill. Eventually you'll pass the last lake and reach timber line on the mountain. Even in summer time, there's a permafrost on the north side of the hill that slooooooowwwly drips like a leaky kitchen faucet, and before you know it, you have a creek, then lakes meandering down the mountain. One of the cool things I encountered was a HUGE field of boulders (at about 10,000 feet) almost as big as a small house. Remember the drip I wrote about a couple sentences ago? That drip carves a rut in the mountainside, forming a small stream and disappears under this big-ass boulder field! As the creek gets bigger, still under the boulders, you can hear it rushing by as it makes its way downhill. It's really cool! The view another 1000 feet up is clear and stunning. As you look east, I swear you can see Kansas from up there. Indian Peaks is just of the historic Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. Hell, the day trip on the Peak to Peak is another story in and of itself...absolutely beautiful.

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