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Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hike to Mohawk Lake

Well, the temps are starting to cool out here in the mountains, usually the temperature is in the 40's when I get up to take Chelsea out...no more flip flops in the early A.M.! And its starting to feel and look like fall. The aspens are starting to turn in the higher elevations, and its really neat to see patches of gold among the green. The air is crisping up, and that's the signal that moving time is approaching.

Tuesday we had gone up to Breckenridge to spend the afternoon with Mark and Keira. They had gone horseback riding in the morning near Fairplay, and wanted to go on a hike after lunch. The lodge they were staying at recommended a hike to Mohawk Lake, so we decided that sounded like a good one.

We left Chalk Creek a bit earlier than necessary so we could get a little caching done along the way :-).

There are so many forest service roads that go off the main highway, we just picked one and drove down it, marveling at the scenery and looking for caches.  

There's a cache here at this gnarled old bristlecone pine, called the Millennia Tree. There are rumors that its the oldest living tree in Colorado, over 1000 years old.

Chelsea is exceptionally perky today, a good thing considering the hike we have ahead of us!

Starting up the trail to Mohawk Lake. In reading the description of the hike, there are two different trailheads. The first one is at the end of the "improved road" and the hike would be just over 7 miles from that point, with an elevation gain of 1,750 feet. That sounded a bit intense to me, plus the fact that we weren't getting out on the trail until after 2PM. So we piled into the truck at that point, and followed the "high clearance vehicle" road to the second trailhead, which would be a 3 mile roundtrip hike, although still with a pretty good elevation gain of almost 1,000 feet. We were skipping the easy part!

The first section of the trail went through a beautiful smelling pine forest...love the smell of pine trees!

As we emerged from the forest, we could see Continental Falls....it looks a lot closer here than it really was, but we are heading for the top of the falls where Lower Mohawk Lake is.

There are several collapsed log cabins left over from the late 1800's mining era

Crossing a creek....

the trail starts to get more open and rocky

We got closer to part of the falls. It was a whole series of cascading sections going down the mountainside. I can only imagine how beautiful it is in years of high snowfall.

Chelsea is being a real trooper for an old lady! Of course Casey could have run up and down that trail 5 times!

A final view of the falls cascading over a ledge and we were ready for the big push to Lower Mohawk Lake...1/2 mile and 500 foot elevation change!

Switchbacks on a rocky trail...we're starting to get above treeline at this point

Skinny trails

The remains of an old wooden tower that was once a part of a tramway for lowering ore to a mill far below.

Oh look! There's a geocache to be found and recorded :-). I think we may have made converts to the hunt!
What a view, huh?

The final push....we see the beginnings of the waterfall....Keira promised me that meant the lake was near!

The trail flattened out, and as we made our way through some thick brush, I could hear the dogs barking up ahead...that could only mean one thing...they were in the water!

We had finally reached Lower Mohawk Lake, and it was a stunning beauty of an sub-alpine lake...at 11,800 feet, surrounded by the light vegetation that grows just at the treeline, boulders rimming the lake, surrounded by mountain peaks. 

The east end of the lake as it heads toward the waterfalls

Mark was inspecting the water for signs of trout

The creek running down for Upper Mohawk Lake that fills Lower Mohawk Lake

Lower Mohawk Lake is very shallow, you could walk across it and probably never get deeper than your calves.

After soaking in the views for awhile, it was time to start heading back. Sometimes I think going down is almost as hard as going up!

Al and the pups pulled ahead of us by quite a wide margin...I think Chelsea was anxious to get back to the truck and go to sleep!

Back through the forest, and back to the truck. It was one of the most vigorous hikes we've done, and I feel quite proud of myself for getting it accomplished! Once back in town we had a nice dinner at The Whale's Tale, and headed back home to Chalk Creek. 

Wednesday was Staff Appreciation Day here, and Lars and Tamara had planned a special day for us all. We had such a good time! First we had our normal staff meeting, where we plotted our course of action for dealing with the couple hundred high school bike racers that are descending upon us today...should be interesting :-). Then they sent us on a scavenger hunt, where we had to gather clues to co-ordinates for our next destination. That turned out to be a mini-golf course in Salida, where we had a rousing competition between two teams to claim the victor's prize...a decorative golf ball! Joe won the competition, and decided he was going to make his international flag golf ball into a geo-cache..sounds cool to me! We then had a puzzle we had to put together to get co-ordinates for our last destination, which turned out to be the Boathouse Restaurant in Salida, where we all had a long leisurely lunch. It was a great day, and we feel so privileged to have worked at such a fine campground with so many great folks. It will be very hard to leave them next week!

A few folks have asked which GPS we are using for our geo-caching. Well, we are actually using the geocaching app for our Iphone...it cost $10.00 and has worked great for us! And if there are folks out there that also geocache, our name is "moseycat", and we'd love to be your friend :-)!

Well, time to get ready for work today, so for now, this is THE END until the next adventure, coming soon!

4 comments:

  1. What a wonderful hike and the views were spectacular. Nice photo of all four of you;o))

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  2. A beautiful hike for a fall day. Take them all in while you can.... I can imagine what it will look like there in a couple of months!

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  3. Gorgeous hike! Sorry to see "the end" of your Colorado adventure :)

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  4. Beautiful photos guys! Sounds as if your work camping experience was among the best!

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