Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Crag Crest Rainfest Hike 8/7/2015

Crag Crest Trail on Grand Mesa is a fantastic, easy trail that gives stunning views of the lakes below. Many folks just hike up to the top and then back.  But, the trail makes a 10 mile loop.  Half is on the crest and the other half through the forest below.  I always like to make the loop whenever possible.  I knew the forecast was "iffy" on this day, but in this rainy summer, if you don't hike in the rain, you won't go hiking.  So, away I went.  My photography this day was fairly dismal due to the weather. But, all days are not perfect - I have to show the good and the bad.

The first lake passed from the east trailhead is Upper Eggleston.  I've spent many a day fishing this lake back when my dad was still alive.  We used to be able to drive up to this lake on a rocky, twisty road that was much quicker to travel afoot.  We also camped at this lake several times and so there are great memories.

On the way between Upper Eggleston and Butts Lake (yes, that's its proper name) I met this doe who walked on the trail in front of me for a bit.

As I got near Butts Lake, the sun was still shining and I was hoping it wouldn't be rainy like Mr. Baahumbug Weatherman predicted.  At least for now it looks good.  This area used to be in the trees. A micro-burst came through a few years ago and mowed down acres of trees.

Just above Butts Lake I could still see under the coming rain clouds clear to the San Juan Mountains south of home.  I had come up here to avoid the heavy rain that was predicted for the San Juans.  At least for now, the San Juans were in sunshine and I was wondering if I'd made the right decision.  The lake below is actually just a pond that often dries completely during the dry summers.  Not this year!

A few columbines were still in bloom - my favorite mountain flower.

As I reached the crest the sky opened up and it rained the entire rest of the 10 mile loop.  But, the flowers were amazing.  They and the grasses were so tall that slogging through them in the rain left me saturated from the waist down.  Glad I wore shorts instead of long pants.  My legs are waterproof! But, water would squish out of the tops of my shoes on every step.  Fun!

Even though it was raining, beauty was still everywhere. Surprisingly, I met a couple lady hikers who had the same "hike in the rain or stay home" attitude as me.  But, they didn't even have rain coats on. Their hair was sticking to their heads and faces, but they were laughing and having a great time anyway.  I met them twice, so knew they made the entire loop too.  They were locals and had also been on the trail multiple times.

The flowers and grasses were unbelievable.  Most of the grass was more than waist tall.  Is that blue sky up there? - come on over here where I am.  It didn't listen.

This is the view out over Big Eggleston Lake.  I'm almost back to my pickup by this time.  The amazing thing about all the poor weather this day, was that there was very little lightning.  Rain doesn't bother me, but I'll pass on the lightning.  So, another great day hiking was in the books - thank you again Lord!