Sunday, July 8, 2007

Backpacking in the James Peak Wilderness

Our hike originated at the East portal of the Moffat Tunnel, near Rollinsville. (FACTS: The Moffat Tunnel was completed in 1927, is over 6 miles long, and runs beneath Rollins Pass!)
We headed out with no specific destination in mind, but were sure we'd have a good time no matter where we ended up...

On a steep section of the unmarked route we took to find a camping spot, Friday evening.Mountain Man, Ian, along the lush trail... ...and beside the -massive- waterfall we followed to the top.
We saw a few groups of day hikers along the first mile of the trail, but were all alone after that. We scored a perfect, tree-encircled campsite at Clayton Lake...
and enjoyed a relaxing evening by the fire that we (read: Ian) built.

Our view from the campsite...

Saturday morning we broke down camp and headed out for some burly hiking. Here are pictures of the day with brief captions:

Iceberg Lake, just above our campsite (behind you in the previous pic), and the continental divide at skyline...

Thawed portion of the lower Iceberg Lake...

Lots of lichen everywhere

Da boys

Carl's wrench

Continental Divide
Ian, chilling on top of the world. Iceberg and Clayton lakes below.
James Peak, the flat-top mountain in the distance, would become our highest point of the day.

Heart Lake, two ridges south of our camp, and the main destination for the original trail starting at Moffat Tunnel.

Half a heart.

At the top of James Peak (elev: 13,294 feet), with the continental divide reaching off into the distance. A very faint Longs Peak (14,255 ft. flat topped peak) can be seen waaay back there just left of Ian's skullcap. Longs Peak is in Rocky Mtn. NP.

Descending James Peak...down.down.down...to Heart Lake, which is visible on the left side of the picture, at the base of the mountains.

Ian's plan was to head home on Saturday evening, and after some deliberation at the Heart Lake campsite, we decided to join him. So, with screaming legs, we hoofed it the last 5 miles to the cars, with daylight to spare.

3 comments:

E&K said...

Looks like a great (but tough) hike! Beautiful country out there. I hope we can get out there soon and do some hiking with you! Looking forward to seeing you both in August.

Anonymous said...

Did you happen to fish Clayton or Iceberg Lakes?

Suzanne said...

Interesting to know.