The presence of my brother and nephew accompanying me on this trip hinged on that of a little league baseball tournament game. I was way overdue to drive down and visit family in Colorado Springs, so I decided to plan a quick social visit, and also an overnight backpack to split my time off of work even.
If my nephews way below .500 team didn’t advance past the first round, I’d get the rare occasion to get some family out into the woods.
We were all happy for the accomplishment, but then again bummed that he actually won that first round game. I decided to go ahead and hike solo that weekend. Meanwhile my nephew and his team were busy winning the tournament championship.
Choosing my devotion of free time can be a challenge. Spring, summer and fall baseball seasons will run their course, but the backcountry will always be waiting.
The view of the Sangre de Cristo range from Wet Mountain valley.
The Rainbow trail skirts the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo’s for nearly 100 miles.
Access to the long, but narrow Wilderness area is abundant from the Rainbow trail. This portion of the range is filled with east to west flowing, drainage after drainage.
The ridgeline looking up toward Colony Baldy.
It didn’t take too long to reach the alpine zone. Up close views of 12,000′ to 13,000′ ridges and peaks surround much of the valley.
Upper (south) Macey Lake
By this point I had already passed Macey Lake and began scouting the upper lakes for camp. Neither of the higher lakes have much in the way of cover. With big evening storms predicted, I opted to explore and fish the higher lakes and camp at the lower of three.
I had picked an easier hike for the three of us. For myself, this location made a great afternoon to take it easy and enjoy the view.
Dry flies on upper (north) Macey Lake.
Fish were caught before the clouds began to put on a show.
I found a nice shelf above Macey Lake with a full view around the crown of the valley.
Light rain, distant thunder, hail and a spectacle of fog until sundown.
The view to upper (south) Macey Lake.
Sporadic and low hanging clouds eventually died down; so I thought. Shortly after a huge wall of fog moved up the valley and I watched as the visibility around camp diminished and the lightness of day faded to dark. The “Supermoon” of August and stars followed later that evening.
The following morning I raced up valley to try and catch the sunrise strike the easterly facing peaks.
Boiling water for coffee.
I never did get a good photo here as the orange light went quick and the wind had chopped up the lake prior to my arrival. I ate breakfast on a small rock island, then eventually hiked back down to camp where I was hesitant to leave. My time here was too short, as it had also been with my family.
The Sangre de Cristo range never fails to impress.