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smoky day jogging in the high country


doug in co

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As usual the summer is racing on by with entirely inadequate time spent in the high country.
The first trip of the year went up into the shadow of Mt Evans. I'd planned to drive up and hike down to the lakes until discovering the road is now reservation-only, go to recreation.gov several weeks in advance to make a booking. Good grief. So, it's five miles and 1600ft up and in, from the bottom parking lot. This was full by 7:30am on a Saturday. Made myself a parking spot in a pullout a couple hundred yards away, just a slightly longer run then. 

I say 'run', what this means is 'go as you please', run when I can, walk when the air gets too thin. Photo opportunities make a good excuse to stop and pant. 

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As always it makes me wonder why I'm wasting my life in a city. Earning my daily crust and raising a family, comes the dutiful response. A bit under an hour for the four miles and 1500ft to the lower lake. 

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Most of a mile and another few hundred feet to the upper lake. Down in Denver it was 95deg, up here at nearly 12 000ft a strong cold wind and 40s, with the sun glowing faintly through the haze.

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Changed out of the sweaty Tshirt into a dry one and a puffy down jacket, went looking for fish. 

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Around to the inlet, still no fishes. No signs of life at all, no bugs, no weed in water, no rises, no shoreline cruisers. The snow looked good though. 
Back to the lower lake. Tried a side trail hoping to get to the inlet and got cliffed.

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Thickets of willow defend the lake. There were a few faint trails through them, most with big moose hoofprints and even some scat. Saw midges as soon as I neared the water under the cliff, as well as weed and other encouraging signs. Here there were fish, pretty cutthroat trout, some in spawning colors and some in ordinary. 

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Last cast before the run out was a bright spawner.

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Legs aching at this point so I foresaw more of a walk than a run. It went OK though with a couple of stops, once to chat to a couple of climbers walking down with their giant bouldering pads. The climbers are often such nice kids, open faces and clear eyes. I tell you, kids today !  they are alright. Another stop to gawk at a huge moose taking his rest in the willowy creek. I tried a picture but it shows only trees, you'll have to take my word for it.

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Another good day though as my backpacking e-spirit guide wrote recently, in these hazy hot fiery days we do wonder each time if it's the last journey.
 

Having thoughts of trying the Devil on the Divide 22k, climbs up to the Continental Divide trail, gets to 13 200ft, then rattles down to a parking lot on I-70. My competitive goal will be to not be last.. 
 

 

 

Edited by doug in co

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Haze from all those fires is sad to see, but the views - wow. Any day in the mountains is a great day.

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Looks like a great day in the mountains. We were at Steamboat this past weekend and it was in the high 90s. Not super smoky though so that was a plus.  

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