July is a "sweeps" month. In the television industry, that translates to "no vacations"... even though July is largely regarded as the "throw-away" sweeps.
My extended family (on my mom's side) gets together biannually for a big vacation. We've done this since I can remember, visiting places from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to Lake Tahoe, California to Oglebay, West Virginia to Depot Bay, Oregon and many places in Montana. For the last two trips, we've gathered at the Snow Mountain Ranch near Tabernash, Colorado.
I was concerned that I would be unable to make this trip as it was in sweeps and while I didn't ask for any time off, I realized I would be able to attend a couple of days on my normal days off. If we weren't gathering in Colorado, it probably wouldn't have happened!
Intro from my previous post which can be found here: http://blog.bigskyconvection.com/2012/08/2011-july-19th-family-vacation-day-1.html
I was excited to do a hike or two on my trip and many of my family members were gung-ho about doing the same. So, I saddled up with my Uncle Scott and cousins Brian, Ashley, Stacey, Jo, Chase, Brad and his wife (fiancé at the time) Rita. We were headed for Columbine Lake, which sits at just above 11,000ft on the west side of the Front Range.
We took two vehicles and were at the trailhead by late morning and it was a beautiful day.
The trail follows Meadow Creek which at this time even in mid-July was still burdened with runoff. In fact, we encountered meadows which seemed to be flowing themselves, the wildflowers and spongy plants almost floating. Occasionally, we had difficulty route-finding as the trail acted as a natural stream. Early on, I gave up on trying to keep my feet dry..
The view up-valley to Mount Neva
Eventually, the terrain began to steepen. We encountered patches of snow here and there, sometimes deep in the shade under trees. Rita tripped up and cut up her leg but soldiered on.
We then came to an open area with a small waterfall, the trail beyond gaining elevation fast.
Brian taking a picture of the falls
Topping out into a hanging valley of sorts, we found several ponds filled with meltwater and ice bergs!
And just beyond, Columbine Lake...
I hiked around the south side of the lake for a while, looking for waterfalls while others fished, rested or snacked.
Water, water everywhere
Brian trying his luck
I even took a moment to enjoy the snow...
After a while, it was time to head back. Despite being mid-July, it was a bit chilly out.
Here are several more shots from the return trip:
Whole meadows just seemed to flow
A ribbon cascade
|Plenty of snow on the trail
Storm clouds began to brew over the higher terrain as we were finishing up. I stopped at Meadow Creek Reservoir on the way pack to grab this shot.