I forgot to break out my Jack Honey.
I forgot to break out my Jack Honey.
Here's my report. But I can't figure out why I can't embed the videos.
I checked the weather forecast before leaving home. It said 50% chance of rain Friday thru Sunday, tapering off to 20% by Wens., so I had a pretty good idea what we were in for. From emails and PMs on the forum, it sounded like I might be the only one still IN for the Indian Peaks North Loop hike. I got to the campground about 1:30, was the second person to arrive, found Bob(OutandBack) loitering about, we said our hellos and I started looking for trees to make camp from because it had just started to rain.
I think JustJeff arrived next, followed thru-out the day by Jimmy(Ferret)and 4 legged friend, ****(food) and Frank(ice man). I gather it was Jimmys sisters dog he had with him. A very well mannered pooch. I don't think I heard her bark once. Food suggested going into town for supper and he got no arguement from any of us. We picked the Sundance restaurant for some good food and a few beers.
Back at camp, the rain let up around Midnight and it was quiet the rest of the night.
Saturday morning the light comes early, like 5am early. Must be a Colorado thing. We had the stoves going by around 8 I think. We made pancakes, hashbrowns, sausage, bacon and ham, washed it down with OJ. Ed(Slowanderer) rolls in just in time for breakfast. Followed later by Mustardman(James), MrsMustardman(Amy) and Desert Reprobate(Bob).
I hated to see Frank leave. I was telling OutandBack that one of the group should have offered to check out his setup for him for potential problems and suggestions. It's been my experience on get togethers like this that they are no different than the forum, in that, asking questions, getting ideas, opinions and advice are welcomed. It's actually the best time to do so because you have lots of experienced people right there and lots of different setups and techniques you can look at first hand.
After breakfast we gathered everyone that wanted to do the day hike to Mitchel and Blue lakes. At the entrance station, Jeffs military status got our carload in for free. Thanks Jeff.
It was some nice technical trail. I took some video to try to convey the area.
Like was said earlier, we didn't try to cross the creek and go on up to Blue lake, as the creek was already swollen and it was looking like rain. Didn't want to get caught on the other side and not be able to cross after hiking back down.
We got back to the parking lot after the hike and took a snack break at the lake there, Brainard I think it was. I took the opportunity to cast a line or 3.
On the drive back to camp the sky opened up on us. We pulled over for a few minutes at one point because it was so heavy.
Back at camp, it wasn't long before the sky caught up to us and dumped on everyone there. Huge claps of lightening and thunder, so close it sounded like the space/time continuum was being ripped open. I could see from under my tarp that the waters path of least resistance was carving out a channel to the right of me, headed downhill and straight toward Jeff and the mustard couples camp. At the time tho, they were huddled under one of those pop-up canopies they brought, centered over a picnic table. They were having hell trying to keep the rain accumulation on its roof from collapsing it and eventually abandoned it.
After it let up, we made plans for doing town for supper again. Food and I went in early to catch the Ace Hardware open so we could change the name and dates on the hike permit to my name, as I was considering doing it solo. But they weren't allowed to do that without talking to the forest service office first and they were closed. So right then and there I think I made up my mind to join OutandBacks group that he was taking to Left Hand Reservoir for a few days of fishing. I plan on rescheduling the hike for those that are interested.
From Ace we went to the Wild Mountain restaurant and I called Bob to let him know where we were at. The rest of the group showed up soon after. We had the upstairs loft all to ourselves. Good food and good beers. I thought the service for that size group was excellent.
Sunday morning brought the stoves out again for another good breakfast before we all said our goodbyes and those of us going to Left Hand Res departed. After last nights rain, Bob was concerned the 2 mile road up might be in bad shape and impassable. Bob, Desert Reprobate and I drove up in my truck to scope it out and to see if DRs low ground clearance car could make it. DR decided against it so we took him back and he lit out for the east coast and his appointment with the AT.
It was just Jimmy, Bob and Me. When we first arrived, the lake and surrounding area were practically obscured by clouds. Then as things cleared, I was like, Wow! Bob pointed out Pawnee Pass to me, the last pass we would have come over on our way out during the hike. Bob tells me it's the lowest V notch you see in the pictures. Awesome!
Bob has his favorite spot up in the trees already picked out and we commence to setting up camp while Jimmy tries out the fishing. He almost gets one to shore before he loses it. Seems the clouds continuously roll in and out.
Later that afternoon, Jimmy decides it's time he heads out, so we say our goodbyes. Bob takes his kayak out for a while and trolls around the lake while I try bank fishing, trying to find myself a honey hole. No luck. Bob doesn't get any strikes trolling, it's getting late, so he comes back and rigs up a stationary pole on shore with worms and throws that out. It sits there the rest of the evening. It's camp rations tonite.
Monday morning arrives and I'm shocked it wasn't any colder overnight than it was, for being near 12k feet in elevation and with the rain we got. I'm up by 6am and making myself coffee.
After breakfast I head down to shore to check Bobs pole and the line is alternating going slack and taut. Fish On!
Not being one to touch another mans pole, I head up to tell Bob he's caught one. "Well reel it in" he says. I no sooner get it to shore and Bob has thrown on his shoes and is down there. Now I remember why I don't fish with worms. Fish inhale them AND the hook. There was no getting it out without cleaning the fish.
Bob rebaits and out it goes again. I walk the bank some more.
By mid morning I take Bob up on his offer to go out in his kayak. I have a 15' sit-on-top kayak myself, so I'm no stranger to it. The smaller kayaks like his are definitely the thing to have for small mountain lakes. I've never been one for trolling, so I just worked the shores and flats, casting into shallow water, reeling back into deeper water, trying to find the color and lure that produced results. The sky was changing every 5 minutes, so I quit trying to keep up with changing to specific lures and colors for overcast vs. sunny. Silver anything seemed to be doing well enough.
We catch 3 trout between the two of us for the day and at about 6pm we get them cleaned and Bob cooks up some bacon and uses the grease for frying the fish in. I brought some Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey and ice for sipping with dinner and afterwards. Mmmm....
Just before dark, Bob checks his pole and has a fish. Tomorrow evenings fry is looking good already.
Tuesday morning is a repeat of yesterday. Coffee and date bars for breakfast followed by fishing all day. Today the weather seems to be getting back to Colorado norms and we see a lot more sun and blue skies. It's getting hot and we're wishing for overcast skies again. By about 11am Bob has 4 fish on his stringer and I have 1. I want to spend a few hours out on the kayak again and Bob says we just need 1 more for 3 apiece tonite. While I'm out, I catch 4, throwing 3 back before calling it a day.
I get back and we clean the fish, then lounge around til about 5pm before starting to cook. 6 fish in a small fry pan using my Jetboil takes a little while. We used Bobs unit the night before and he was concerned about using it again since his is either full off or full on.
If you've ever had trout, you know a little 11" fish is quite filling. We had 3 apiece and Bob tried to pawn his 3rd one off on me. "No way buddy, that's your fish. It's gonna be all I can do to finish my own three". Plus the bacon, and we still had half a bottle of Jack.
After cleaning up the supper dishes, we lounged around, sipping Jack on ice, talking about the kinds of things guys do as they slowly become inebriated. We finished off the bottle. I don't know about how Bob was feeling, but I haven't been that sh*tfaced in a long long time. LOL
We finally had a night with clear skies for looking at stars and I couldn't hold them still in my gaze. I wondered if Bob could see how I was struggling not to fall on my face, staggering all over the place. I caught myself laughing at myself. When it came time to hit the sack, I almost literally did that. Stumbling around, trying to get into my tarp, tripping on lines, I thought I was going to pull it down. Boy, I slept good.
Wenedsday morning we slept in. It was go home day. I was up around 7am, had breakfast, broke camp and packed it all back to the truck. Bob had just woke up when I got back. While he was breaking camp, I paddled the kayak across the lake to the take out near the vehicles. Decided to get one more pano shot of the area, under its pretty, blue morning sky.
I hiked back to camp and helped Bob carry out the last of his stuff. We loaded his kayak, drove down the mountain, stopped at the main park road to say our goodbyes and that was the end of the 2012 Colorado Summer Hang.
Thanks to Bob and **** for the pre-event planning, scouting hikes they made beforehand to make sure we'd have the trees and room for the gathering. **** made the post for the 2012 event 8 months in advance to try to get people interested and commited. But our turnout just goes to show that no matter how long you plan an event for, life happens, and sometimes things beyond your control or other things you feel should take priority, crop up at the last minute.
After seeing pictures and hearing talk of how fantastic the North Loop hike is, I sure would like to plan a "make up" hike, so I may be posting a thread to that end.
I had a great time. It was good to see friends from last year as well as meet new ones. For those that couldn't make it, I hope your circumstances turned out for the best.
Til next time........
Last edited by trailryder42; 07-14-2012 at 02:26.
Great photos and trip report Trailryder - that shot of the hammock in the mist at Left Hand Res. is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.
I so badly wish we could have stuck around for the fishing. Nothing beats some fresh cooked mountain trout. Maybe next time...
FANTASTIC report TR!! Thanks a million!
Love your enemies, but keep your gun oiled!
I am a CONCENTRATED vegetarian. I let the cows eat all the grass, and then I eat the cows!
Wow! Great trip report TR. Thank you so much for putting it together.
The video's are awesome. I need to start doing some of that.
I sure enjoyed your company on the 4 days we spent at Left Hand Res.
I don't think that part of the hang could have gone any better.
May your mileage in the backcountry exceed your post count.
Wow! That was some weather testing going on there! Beautiful scenery all around.
As I watched Just Jeff's opening video, I couldn't help trying to imagine a tent being set up on that spot
"Life is a Project!"
Sweet pics, trailrydr. Sure is gorgeous. I'm moving out that direction one way or another!