… lakes. for all of my chi-town best pals i had to make sure they were alert with that title. (; so not really chicago, but it felt like we could have walked there by the time we were through. and now the story. we started this hike on saturday but weather made us turn around and knowing what we know now, thank goodness. we went back on sunday, unawares of what lay ahead of us. the trailhead is not marked with any information, length, difficulty, nada. which is probably a good thing or we would have quite possibly turned around again.
the trail starts off with around a mile of downhill, steep, narrow, and lots of switchbacks, then levels out for a short bit, short being the key word. next is a road that is straight uphill for about a mile and is much harder than it seems. having a wide, flat surface makes your mind think it’s going to be no biggie. ha! at the top of this you end at what we are pretty sure everyone thinks is chicago lake, but it’s not, it’s the reservoir. on the upside, most people hike to the reservoir, enjoy the scenery, let the dogs swim and then head back none the wiser, saving themselves a lot of self inflicted
torture, i mean fun.
but, if you go past the reservoir a bit you run into a huge sign (finally) pointing you on your way to the actual lakes, the map looks like it’s relatively flat with not too much of an elevation hike so we pursued. and at first, it’s flat, winding through tall grasslands, along mountain edges, completely lulling us into feeling like yes-we-can-do-this-no-problem. oh my dear lord. that feeling lasted all of about 3 minutes and the rest of the hike was a mother. straight uphill, so steep you wouldn’t believe. elevation rose from 9000 to 11,500 (zoinks) and took about an hour and a half. we never. (and never will again)
nothing made us happier (save arriving back at the car) than finally seeing the lake and it is a beautiful hike, i feel it’s necessary to point this out amidst this long tale, beautiful… at a price. anyhoo, we laid on a big rock, soaked in the scenery and started back before our muscles tightened too much. we were consoling ourselves along the hike in by saying that at least the hike back would be all downhill, and therefor easy, except for the steep one mile ending. oh if only this had been true. this was the first downhill we’ve hiked that was almost as hard as the uphill. it really is so steep that going back down required a lot of deep and tricky stepping, and navigating loose gravel/sand (slippage was frequent), but we made it. the last mile uphill wasn’t that bad, after the uphill getting to the lake, the uphill at the end seemed almost easy. at that point i don’t think anything would have fazed us being oh so close to the finish line.
if you are in amazing shape you’ll probably go and laugh at us, wimps! but we are in pretty good shape (not stellar by any means but…) and it’s a heart pounder. if you need a good workout, you’ll love it. we might have found some gold, did you see the sparkles in the water? he looked for a nugget but to no avail. and we don’t know about bears but the husband poops in the woods. twelve miles will do it to you, apparently. and what really kept us going, the thought of a cold beer and hot pizza at beau jo’s in idaho springs. ah-mazing. (anywhere that serves 320z beers in a southern mason jar, you know that’s a good place)