Monday, July 11, 2011

Lamphier Lake/Gunsight Pass Hike

On Saturday the 9th; my good friend Rex and I did a hiking/fishing trip to Lamphier Lake in the Fossil Ridge Wilderness of western Colorado.  I'd been there a couple times before, but it was a new treat for Rex.  Due to winter snows, it was only my second hike of the season - so I was more than ready!   There are several lakes in the area:  Lower Lamphier, Upper Lamphier, Mill Lake and a couple others.  There are cutthroat trout in the lakes.  But, on this day they were typical cutthroats - finicky!

There are some really nice cutthroats in the lakes; if only they had been hungry!

So, for me anyway, the trip quickly turned into primarily a hiking trip.  I'm definitely a "fair weather" fisherman.  If they are not biting, I quickly lose interest.  This is a great place to get lost in the beauty of God's creation.  The picture below is from a prior trip - sunrise from Upper Lamphier lake.

It doesn't get much more beautiful than that - unless it's alpenglow on Squaretop Mountain which is just to the west of Upper Lamphier lake.

I hiked up on Squaretop on my last trip to the Lamphier area.  The view from there rivals the view from any 14er in Colorado in my opinion - though I haven't been up every 14er.  Others have said so as well.  The Collegiate peaks are off to the east; the West Elk peaks to the northwest; the San Juan peaks to the southwest.  It just plain has incredible views - you can almost see right into heaven from there!

Gunsight pass is also a great attraction.  It's a small notch in the rock wall to the north of Upper Lamphier.  It does resemble a gun sight.  It's just wide enough and tall enough to walk through.  The view to the other side opens into the Taylor Park area drainage.  It's about a 15-20 minute hike above Upper Lamphier.

From Gunsight pass you also have great views looking down on Upper Lamphier Lake.

But, Lower Lamphier is an often overlooked gem as well.  It is several hundred feet lower than the Upper lake.  The trail is easy to overlook.  This was my first trip to the lower lake.  I'm sure I'll go back.  It doesn't get the activity that the upper lake does.  Rex and I were the only ones there.  The morning light was just right and the lake was calm and peaceful - reflecting the mountains perfectly.

A spotlit grassy meadow on the north side of the lake made a beautiful contrast with the darker pines.  Wow, it was one of those mornings that can easily make you forget the poor fishing.

After the jaunt up to Gunsight Pass; I stopped for a couple more photos at Upper Lamphier.  The marsh marigolds were in bloom and it was a perfect setting for a photo or two.

All in all it was a great day.  Good fellowship, great scenery and God's grace and blessing.  I'm so thankful for healthy legs, heart, lungs, eyes and ears.  It's only right to share these places via photos with those who cannot go there for one reason or another.  Our Lord has done so much to help us see Him and His grandeur.  He's an awesome creator - if this sin tainted world is so beautiful - just imagine what heaven will look like!