Wednesday, July 30, 2008

TODAY'S HIKE JOINS THE TOP TEN

For those of you who have been asking for glamour shots of the Colorado high country, here they are!

Odel had plans to play golf today, so Jackie and Buddy invited me to come along on a hike. I was in the mood for some geocaching (new to them), so we decided on a 5-mile hike just 15 miles up a nearby canyon, to Pomeroy Lake. The hike had a geocache nearby, and is in an area well-known for ghost towns and mining ruins - sounded like a winner, and it was.

Those peaks you see in the background? Likely 14,000 feet, plus or minus a few hundred - this is an alpine lake, and gorgeous.

The morning was beautiful, sunny and cool, and we got off around 9 am. I had a map and trail description - actually, the trail is a 4x4 road, but of course we were hiking.

We drove the dirt road up, up, up until we located a parking log mentioned in the directions - elevation: 10,564 feet. That was where we started, with a 2,000 foot elevation gain ahead. We started hiking - up.

The geocache was a mile into our hike, at "Boss Murphy's House". Jackie and Buddy got right into the spirit of geocaching. The cache managed to elude us for 15 minutes or so, but we won, trading a blue yo-yo from an Arizona cache for a plastic caribiner with a built in flashlight. On our way back down, I was glad we had searched for the geocache on the way up - I was way too tired to do it on the way back!

Boss Murphy's house was the first in a series of abandoned mine buildings we passed in the next mile of our climb. This photo shows part of the Mary Murphy mine, a large complex on both side of the road, gradually beaten down by the harsh sun of summer and the heavy snow of winter.

By now we had passed the 11,000' level, and I really felt it. The grade leveled out a bit, and we kept plugging away, stepping off the road now and then for ATV's and Jeeps (we saw 10 or 12 in our 5 hour long hike).

Then the road took a twist and headed uphill steeply for the last half-mile. We had climbed so far that we didn't think of turning back, but at 12,000' elevation I was really sucking in that thin air!

Look closely at this photo and you can see Jackie and Buddy, tiny figures in an awesome landscape. We climbed right up to this glaciated basin holding Pomeroy Lake and stopped at a big flat rock to enjoy our lunch. I took this photo facing one direction (east, I think), then walked to the edge of the lake, facing the other way, to take the top photo.

A gusty breeze kept away the few mosquitos that might have been a bother, and it was cool enough that I put my long-sleeved fleece back on during lunch.

It was high, quiet, and incredibly beautiful, and I was in wonderful company. It is definitely on my Top Ten Favorite Hikes - a challenging hike, beautiful day, perfect weather, and great company. I have a feeling I will sleep very soundly tonight!

2 comments:

  1. Another very readable story and lovely photos. It was nice to hike with you.
    Nancy Hurley

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  2. Paws & HoovesAugust 1, 2008 at 5:16 PM

    Oh, I would have LOVED being there with you today!!!!!!

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