Day #162

I promise I haven’t given up on this project… I’ve just been so busy taking pictures and running around this summer that I haven’t had enough time to edit and post them! Carrying on though!

Today, Andy and I went on our first “big” full day hike in Colorado. We looked at maps and checked out info online (which was sparse and inconsistant) and decided on the Quartz Lake Trail. We drove to the trailhead, up in the mountains, loaded up and signed in. Everything was good! From there we started the three hour climbing uphill portion of the trail, meandering through switchbacks for what seemed like forever. But, the views were nice and we were getting some exercise. Still good! We finally reached the top ridge of one of the mountains and were beginning to break out of the tree line. There was less up hill, but now we had to contend with snow and a clear view down the mountain (sprinkled with bear tracks, I might add). A little unsure now, but still good!

A little way down the path we meet a couple who knew the area and has done this trail before. They informed us that just up ahead we would be climbing another mountain peak and crossing over that pass, far above the tree line (here’s where it’s killing me to narrow down to just one photo!). We smile and nod as they leave. Then things are not so good! I panic – scared of heights, but more so of downhills. But, we carry on for awhile longer, crossing the rocky, snow splotched face of the next peak on the semi-visible trail. Sadly, my shaky legs in my poorly equipped running shoes gave up and I parked it on a big rock in the middle of a long snow patch and called this the end for me. Andy went on a bit further, but soon came back discovering that things didn’t improve.

We felt defeated having to turn around before we reached the Quartz Lake, but we had a good adventure! Later, we came to find that it was far too early to hike that trail, and it is apparently common knowledge that you wait for the snow to melt before attempting the whole thing. Hmm, thanks for nothing to the websites that did not mention this, or the fact that the trail went up and OVER a mountain. 😉

Here is my stopping point, at which we had hiked nearly 2000 ft in elevation. If you look closely (click to enlarge) at the left, you can see part of the trail as it comes out of the trees, and to the right, the downhill that kept me in this spot.