Last Monday and Tuesday I spent some time riding trail in the Taylor Park, Colorado area.
Wenedsday all my friends were headed home and I decided to stay a while longer. I wanted to
do some backpacking and test out some new gear. Started the morning by hiking up in the hills
around Cottonwood Pass.
On the east side of Cottonwood Pass is the Ptarmigan Lake trail. Apparently there's more than
one. An upper and a lower, plus numerous small ponds here and there. I didn't read the info
at the trail kiosk so I have no idea far it is. I had 4 days of food, figured I'm good.
I had talked to some locals in Taylor Park about the trail. They hadn't hiked it but they
understood it to be a strenuous hike. Yeah, I'd say! Uphill all the way. Very rocky too, but
a beautiful trail. It took me about 3 hours I guess. About half way up there was a stream close
to the trail and I filtered some water to refill my hydro pack. I do it thru quick disconnects
on the hose.
I stopped at the lower lake for a rest and took some pics of the area.
Then I pushed on up to the main lake at the encouragement of hikers coming down,
saying the views were worth it.
If you hike on around the lake and up to the saddle, you get high
enough to really see everything well, and see down the back side of the mountain, as the trail
keeps going, to where I don't know.
At the saddle above the lake I had a snack, took some pictures and investigated why I felt like I had
a wet ass. Took the water bladder out and the cap on it was loose. Duh, I was sure that thing
was tight when I put it in. Sorted that out, then headed back down to the lower lake to set up
camp for the night.
Found a suitable site with good trees. Wish I'd have looked around a little more, because
afterwards, I was doing some exploring and found a cool site with better views.
The fish in the lake were hitting the top and I was wishing I had a pole. The sun was going down
and creating all kinds of neat shadows. Elevation was about 11,800 ft..
The new gear I was using for the first time was the Cuben Hammock tarp by Zpacks, the 3S
Burrow TQ, a 3/4 length Phoenix UQ by HammockGear and the Caldera Cone alcohol stove.
A breeze came and went all night up there. I just knew my feet were going
to get cold, as I had run off and forgot to pack my Flamethrower booties. But I stayed warm all
night. A full moon and a whiff of campfire smoke from somewhere were small comforts for
me, as I lay in my hammock out there all alone.
At one point while narrating a video I was making on my phone from inside the hammock,
some critter scurried thru camp, hitting one of my tarp guylines and scared the crap outta me.
Using a TQ is sooooooo much easier to get in and out of than a sleeping bag. Money well spent.
The Caldera Cone boiled 2 cups of water on 1/2 oz. of fuel up there. Incredible.
Since my last hike with several guys from the forum here during the section 6 hike of the CT,
I've pared my pack weight down by 10 lbs. I could sure tell a difference.