Monday, July 23, 2007

Special Edition, Backpacking Colorado- Part II


Small Alpine Lakes and Ponds are sprinkled throughout the Holy Cross Wilderness.

The Holy Cross Wilderness was designated in 1980 and offers opportunities for hiking, camping, horseback, hunting and fishing. The wilderness encompasses around 123,409 protected acres and has long been recognized for its pristine and historic qualities. At 14,007 feet above sea level Mount of the Holy Cross which dominates the north end of the Sawatch Range is the area’s prized “fourteener”. However the surrounding country is just as magnificent with abundant wildlife, dense timber from 8,500 to 11,200 feet, wild flowers, beautiful vistas and abundant glaciations. The associated kettle lakes, Cirques, Drumlins, U shaped valleys and trout streams make this area truly diverse and adventurous for all enthusiasts.The wilderness also has over 160 miles of trails that will take you from aspen benches through steep glacial valley on to the spectacular high alpine tundra before dropping back down in the lush flower and trout stream filled valleys. The presence of so much water is largely attributable to the weather patterns that cross and often get caught in this valley, thanks to the orientation of the mountain range. The alpine lakes are of considerable size and dot the basins in abundance. Each filled with wily trout, a fly fishers heaven!

Creen catches and releases (the hard part) her first fish (a brook trout) with a fly rod and reset her line for another go. She really enjoyed learning to fly fish. Her great fishing quote from the week, about the ladies learning to fly fish. "We just like to cast."

The green back Cutthroat trout, a Colorado native! Like me.
Some fish facts (ref. CSU):
1. Cutthroats (greenback, Colorado River, Rio Grande, and the extinct yellowfin) are the only trout native to Colorado and were once widespread and abundant.
2. The greenback cutthroat trout was originally found in cold-water tributaries of the Arkansas and South Platte Rivers of eastern Colorado.
3. By the early 1900's, habitat loss, unregulated fishing pressure, and the stocking of non-native trout greatly reduced the distribution and abundance of the native cutthroat trout.
4. Recovery efforts for the federally-threatened greenback have brought it back and expanded its range so that it has been down listed from "Endangered" to "Threatened".
5. This fish was declared the State Fish of Colorado in 1994.
6. Maximum length: 12-18 inches

Old Mining Ruins in the drainage.
This machinery was probably extremely difficult to get back here. The pieces looked to be solid steal and too heavy for a single horse or mule. I'd love to know how this was possible.


A quite moment above tree line at Treasure Vault Lake.
Thunder storms in the background build up intensity.



  1. wow! that is a big cut-throat.

  2. Hey Sean,
    It was a large fish for the species. Just one of the many I saw that weekend. I spoke to another fisherman on day three, who said he pulled a 16 inch Brown trout out of Blodgett Lake. Unfortunately he consumed it, but I'm sure there are others!
    Happy fishing.

  3. Mount Holy Cross is one of the 14er's I'd like to attempt. I'm not a very goal oriented hiker though, so who knows if I'll ever make it to the top. I'll probably get lost (figuratively speaking) looking at wildflowers and scenery along the way and forget all about the summit:)

  4. By the way, I like the black and white of your friend sitting on the rock next to the lake. It has an artistic quality which I can appreciate. I like your use of shadows. Scenery is great, and it's hard to miss in Colorado, but there's something about photographs of people that fascinate me.

  5. I like that image too.
    Chris (the guy in the shot) is a martial arts champion; he specializes in several disciplines of Kung-fu. Nicest guy you’ll ever meet. In fact you couldn’t tell by talking to him that he is a champion fighter, he is very humble.
    But from what other people tell me, there is a fierce warrior in there somewhere.
    I saw him sitting in this Zen like state and thought it kind of looked like Japan animation.