Disappointment turns to blessing

I’ve been planning a backpacking trip to North Colony Lakes down in the Sangre de Cristo mountains for several weeks. I spoke with Forest Service guy down at the Westcliffe work center about snow levels and the road conditions on South Colony road. You see, the plan was to 4×4 to the Rainbow trail and then backpack 2 miles to the Noth Colony trailhead and then  up the trail 4 miles to the lakes and set up camp. Darrell (Forest Service) said there was some work on the road, but that it would be no problem. That was last Wednesday.

So, we drove down on Friday (about 2 hours) and got to the gate on the 4×4 road and it was closed! What a bummer.  We made some phone calls but couldn’t get clearance to drive in.  The only other way to the trailhead was from the north over at the Horn Lakes trailhead. So we decided to give it a try. We got on the trail and hiked about three miles stopping at the  Macey Lakes trailhead. We were still 2.75 miles from the North Colony Lakes trailhead and were discussing the additional 4 miles this route was adding to our trip. Between Steve, Jeff, and Jeff and myself we decided to tackle North Colony Lakes on another weekend and go up to Macey Lakes. We did this trip last summer on the same weekend.

Since this is in National Wilderness Area and was the trail clearing weekend we brought the foldable bow saw and cleared some trees off of the trail.  Some public service for the boys.

It was cloudy and mild with the thunder booming across the Wet Valley and we even got a little snow. We camped in the same spot as last year and there was only one other tent set up near the lower lake. Saturday and Sunday were gorgeous days without a cloud in the sky. We camped at 10,700 feet and hiked on Saturday morning up to the lower lake. Deep blue skies, the deep blue lake, some snow here and there, green trees and of course the rough rockies all around us. B-E-A-utiful. Anyway Joshua, Luke, Paul, Taylor and Jeff B. fished the lower lake, while Jeff G, Steve N, Kyle, Zach and myself hiked up to the upper south lake (about 11,300 ft.). I fished the upper lake with Jeff and Steve but only Jeff caught a cutthroat trout. But, it was a whopper. 18 inches! I didn’t know they grew that big. Anyway, by the time I got back down to the boys a couple of hours later Joshua had caught and released 22 trout, Luke had caught 18 and released 17, including one with his bare hands . . . again, and Paul caught 9 and released 8. I caught 1 all day long and released it.  We came back to camp arond 6:30PM and ate our dinner, plus some fresh trout.

The photo was taken last summer at Macey Lakes. This year there was much less snow, so it made the hiking easier and also possible to get to the upper lake which is in the center above the lake in the picture, up over the moraine.

We hiked out on Sunday afternoon and stopped , as usual, in Canon City for burgers and tots at Sonic on US Highway 50. So, while I was disappointed that we didn’t get to the planned destination, we still had a great trip.

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