Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Very Colorado Day

Saturday, 22 June, 2013

This day was one of those days that embodies what living in Colorado is to me. One of my good friends from Maine, Bret, was in Keystone for a forestry conference and wanted to get together. This coincided with a Boulder friend of mine, John, trying to organize people to go on hikes with him. Alita graciously told me to have a good time. While she likes a good walk, the midwife advised us to keep the kiddo-to-be below 11,000 ft.

The three of us agreed upon hiking Bierstadt. It was a good middle choice for my friend in Keystone and John and me in Boulder. John and I had not hiked Bierstadt and it was an easier 14’er for a sea-level person like Bret to take on.

We met up at the Georgetown exit at 6:30 and were at the trailhead by 6:50. Bret brought along two other forestry friends of his from Quebec. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and this being a 14’er, there was already a good crowd at the parking area and starting up the mountain.

I had never checked out the website, but I would highly recommend it for anyone looking to hike one of these (or several 13,000 –ft. peaks). The pictures, maps, GPS points and trip reports were spot on and very helpful. The route was pretty clear from the ant-line of people already going up the trail. We walked through the bog section with its boardwalks and crossed the stream as a nice warm-up. The first mile-or-so of gain was a fairly nice path. The trail was clear except for a few snow cones near the top.

Snow Cones!
We made the summit by 9:20. We took the required touristy pictures; then, we retreated to the far side for a little space so that we could eat our lunch in peace. John had mooted the idea of picking up Mount Evans as well, but Bret and the Quebequa were starting to feel the effects of the altitude so we agreed that an out-and-back would round out the hiking day just fine.

The trip down was uneventful for us, although it appeared that someone was getting rescued as a helicopter circled overhead and an ambulance was waiting in the parking lot when we arrived. We were back to the cars by 12:30. John and our friends from Quebec went their separate ways while Bret and I decided to try some local fishing.

Our Quebecois Friends and the end of the hike
After some debate about driving times and various local options, Bret and I decided to check out a stretch of the Blue River above Silverthorne. It was a beautiful canyon stretch with nice little runs. Being downstream of the reservoir, it was not running too high either. I tried a dry-dropper out of principle, but eventually joined Bret with a double nymph rig. Bret hooked into what looked to be a nice rainbow  on a copper john but lost it after a few seconds of fighting.

It seemed that small was the order of the day so I switch to a size-18 midge and beatis nymph set-up. About a half-hour later this paid off with a nice 14-inch rainbow. We each had one more fish express interest, but the Blue did not give up any more fish for us that day – just spectacular and peaceful vistas.

We head back to the cars around five and went our separate ways. We had hiked a 14-er and fished a beautiful trout stream. I cannot think of too many better ways to spend a summer day in Colorado.

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