We have been out here for two and a half months now and even though we are still grateful for every flower, every view, and every animal, it is amazing to experience the joy and beauty through the fresh eyes of Milo and Kate. In a way, it re-illuminates the beauty and wonder. We were reminded of just how amazing the world we are living in is and experiencing every day. Today, we get to share it with others.
Even the small things that have just become routine or our normal, reawakened our senses as we watched Milo and Kate experience the trail. The tiny succulents and flowers amazed Kate and the snow and marmots could keep Milo excited for a lifetime.
That morning we packed up camp and began our rather big climb up to James Peak and the James Peak Wilderness area. The first part of the climb tucked us away in the pine trees, but then we began to emerge from tree line. Below we could see the first alpine lake of the day, Loch Lonond. We reached a large bald below James and sat near a crystal clear stream to filter some delicious mountain water. Nothing gets as good as that. We are usually very bummed out to come back into town and drink city water.
Several day hikers passed by heading up to the summit, including two men in their seventies. We climbed up several hundred more feet which brought us into view of three more alpine lakes. They were arranged similar to if they were on a tier. The one closest to the mountains still wore a blanket of ice on top and aptly named Ice Lake. The climb up to the summit was steep, but we took our time and enjoyed each change of the view.
Once at the top, we were greeted by a group of marmots, wind, and pure excitement to be at the top! A beautiful 13,309 feet! The descent was even steeper so we each found our own comfortable speed as we worked our way lower. The trail seemed to be carved out of towers of rock, extending high above us to our right and dropping suddenly to the valley to our left. The trail was narrow but easy to follow. Marmots sat on the rocks and barked like they were kings and we were trespassing through their kingdom.
We made it to a ridge which we followed all the way to the trailhead, where we were awaited by Joe in his silver Dodge Ram. He warned us about the road that he took to get up to the trailhead, all fourteen miles of it, and we started down slowly but surely.
Back at the Airstream, we showered and then sat around sharing stories and photos from our past two days. Charlie and Hannah happened to be staying at a tent spot at the same campground so they came up and joined us at our spot for a margarita and beer. After a bit, all six of us piled into the truck and headed into Grand Lake for dinner.
Back at the Airstream, sleep came easy for everyone, especially Milo.
Garbelly & Critter