4:00 am…on a Saturday…and my alarm clock is ringing in my ear. We crawled out of bed, showered, loaded our packs in the car, and headed down the highway at 5:15 am. Call me crazy, but sometimes early morning wake ups make for the best days.
Heading West to our destination, we timed it right and missed the weekend mountain traffic arriving to a mostly empty parking area. The air was a brisk 42 degrees and windy at 11,000 feet which made Bandit all the more frisky as he jumped from the Outback. It has been too long since we have taken a family hike together, so we were happy to breathe in the clean mountain air. We picked a shorter trail with good scenery that was friendly for dogs (with a titanium leg). The hike ended at an alpine lake, so Josh brought along his fly rod to try his luck.
The chosen trail (undisclosed) turned out to be a perfect choice. It was 4.2 miles out and back and surprisingly, many wildflowers still remained this late in the season. As we hiked up the trail, we encountered a few small stream crossings, waded through patches of willow thickets, and spotted six mule deer on a northwest hillside. Reaching the top of the ridge, the wind was fierce and almost unbearable. We pushed through to reach the next part of the trail where the mountains provided a barrier from the brutal gusts. Red paintbrush, mountain gentian and tall fringed bluebells enveloped both sides of the path, which became marshy in spots as we reached our glacial lake destination.
The alpine lake was peaceful, calm, and surrounded by mountains and wildflowers. After enjoying a well earned trail snack of cheese and jerky, Josh fished for a while, while Bandit and I enjoyed the views. We took our time exploring the area and made a loop around the lake. With clouds steadily rolling in, we decided it was time to depart and we began our decent. Bandit met a few doggie friends on the way down, and then started losing his energetic enthusiasm as we crept closer to our four mile completion.
Hiking and mountain air always leaves us famished, so we decided to stop in Georgetown for a quick lunch. Yelp assisted us in our choice of Lucha Cantina. Lucha is located on 6th Street in Georgetown’s National Historic Landmark District. The menu is quite varied and they use all fresh ingredients; I ordered enchiladas, while Josh picked out one of the mac & cheese combos. The food and atmosphere was a great ending to our morning adventure and reenergized us for the drive back home.