Venable Lakes Backpacking – 2015

Summer is in full swing, so we know it’s time to go backpacking. It’s always a lot of work, however, once I’m out there I remember why I like going so much, and then wonder why I don’t go more often. Jeff and I had a short conversation about a trip for the weekend while playing the weekly street hockey game on Wednesday. We decided to head out after work on Friday. Venable Lakes seemed like a good choice.

Arriving at the Comanche/Venable Trailhead around 8PM, we hiked up the trail to camp in the nearby forest (camping is not allowed at the parking area). That way, in the morning, we could return to parking area to pick up our items left in the cooler.

Our low-elevation, evening camp not too far from the Comanche/Venable parking area

Our low-elevation, evening camp not too far from the Comanche/Venable parking area

In the morning we made a quick breakfast, packed up  everything, dropped our packs near the trail in the bushes, took a brisk walk back to the truck, returned, and began the hike sometime between 8-8:30 AM.

It was a pleasant morning, with light breezes and sunny skies. We stopped at the Venable Falls trail for a short break of water and snacks. Jeff walked down to the falls for some photos, however, I didn’t take the short walk down there, since I photographed them on most previous trips like the one in 2013. That trip provides a photo of the falls and more travel and hiking details.

View from Venable Lakes Trail, just before the cabin

View from Venable Lakes Trail, just before the cabin

We were fortunate enough to be able to camp in our favorite camp site, the same as last time . . . and the time before that. After we set camp we hiked up to the lower lake. The fishing was disappointing to say the least. I tried an elk hair caddis, a bead-head prince nymph and then a pheasant tail nymph. And, it was really windy. After quite some time, and moving around the lake a bit, I got a bite . . . but lost it. Bummer. Hmmm…………..

Jeff traverses a snow field to get to the less windy side of lower Venable Lake. Zeke leads the way!

Jeff traverses a snow field to get to the less windy side of lower Venable Lake. Zeke leads the way!

Meanwhile, Jeff had already moved on to the upper lake, and hadn’t returned yet, So, I’m thinking the fishing may be better up there. I didn’t want to hike through a snow field (see photo) to get up there so I followed the main, and less snowy, trail around, up and over, to the upper lake.

Venable Lakes, Upper (left) and lower (right)

Venable Lakes, Upper (left) and lower (right)

Indeed! The fishing was much better up there, however, now it was very windy. The gusts were really strong and the wind was generally swirling. Casting became a real challenge. I continued using my pheasant-tail nymph and bubble setup shown in my previous post, titled Fishing High Mountain Lakes in Colorado, and landed 4 really nice fish. Since we had no plans for a fire, I returned all of them.

Nice trout I caught in Upper Venable Lake

Nice trout I caught in Upper Venable Lake

The clouds got darker, though it never did rain, and I headed back down to the lower lake. While there I met Jay and Tami who had been hiking the ridges, and fishing and camping for a few days. We had a nice conversation and shared some stories, discussing areas in Groundhog Basin and Comanche Peak, while looking over his map. After a bit, Jeff came by, we exchanged a few more stories, and then we headed back to camp.

The view from the Venable Lakes trail heading back to camp from the lower lake

The view from the Venable Lakes trail heading back to camp from the lower lake

It was windy all night and into the next morning. At times the gusts were very powerful. My tent, a one-man, North Face Mountain Marathon performed better than expected. I was comfortable all night, even though I had some bizarre nightmares . . .  which is not all that unusual for me when backpacking.

Around 8AM, and yes, it was still windy, I got up and cooked my hot breakfast using the two whole eggs I packed in and kept cool in the nearby creek. I added them to some peppers, potatoes and sausage for a hearty breakfast. It remained windy throughout the morning and it didn’t seem worth it to hike back up to the lake to fight the wind. After all, yesterday turned to be pretty good fishing. It was pretty cold and we even went back in the tents for a while, hoping the wind might die down. No such luck.

It might be mid-July, but it can still be quite cool during breakfast

It might be mid-July, but it can still be quite cool during breakfast

So, we packed up and headed down, trekking 2 hours to the parking area. Even with the wind it was a nice way to spend the weekend. Seems like I need to get out some more.

This backing with a cast-iron skillet is getting to be habit forming

This backing with a cast-iron skillet is getting to be habit forming!

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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