After spending the entire week feeling like a boogery, Pinterest-addicted blob, I was in need of some serious wilderness. Not well enough to backpack, we drove a little over an hour to find dispersed camping near the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Dispersed camping is quite its own beast for the following reasons:
- It’s completely free.
- The access to nearby trails is decent.
- Previous visitors have found and arranged some sweet sitting rocks.
- There are trees, animals, and it’s outside.
- Not all visitors follow Leave No Trace principles, and there are piles of trash everywhere.
- It’s loud. There are no quiet hours, rangers, or people to tell your neighbors to stop your neighbors to stop screaming at each other.
- No facilities. I’m completely fine with primitive camping, but some people have no idea how to poop in the woods without toilet-papering the foliage.
Free always wins in my book. The next morning we attempted an semi-Apline (7am) wake-up, cooked some tofurkey sausage, and drove a bumpy 4 miles along 4th of July road to the trailhead. The trail is a moderate 5.5 miles or so round trip and features some waterfall vistas, stream crossings, and squishy mud. I managed the hike relatively unscathed except for jamming my already crummy right shoulder. Still, I was pretty excited.
After about an hour and change, we ended up at the lake which was sun-lit and lovely.
We circuited the lake and located the glacial run off source. Most importantly, though, we went pika hunting in the rocky outcrop on the opposite side of the lake. I saw THREE pikas and basically died of happiness. I managed to get one far away picture.
There are cat people. There are dog people. And then there is an even weirder subset of humans that are rodent people. On the hike back I had a super cute squirrel traffic incident where, mouth stuffed with twigs and plants, the little guy was trying to cross the trail. He kept giving me the stink eye and wouldn’t cross until I backed up several feet.
In the last mile of the hike, I spied the business end of a marmot zipping under the brush. They’re the size of a cat and look like this, only usually less dapper.
This weekend will mark by first attempt at a 14er! I hope I’m ready.