After a warmup day on Hallet Peak, it was time to start acclimatizing to the altitude and begin exploring in earnest. Our plan for doing this kicked off with a three day backpacking trip into the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. Even though Longs Peak was the main objective, and promised to be the biggest prize of the entire trip if we proved successful in the attempt four days hence, I think I was looking at this three day outing as the highlight of the trip, with a chance to bag four or five nice peaks in a less visited area of the park. Unfortunately, things didn't work out according to plan - but it was still a great three days in one of the lesser traveled but nevertheless spectacular areas of the park - and probably the best backpacking trip I have had the pleasure of doing in Colorado.
|A great view of the Homestretch on Longs Peak (left) and Mount Meeker (right). Photo by Dave Socky
|Tanima Peak and Mount Alice from the Bluebird Lake Trail.
|A snow ramp up a still buried section of the trail near Bluebird Lake.
|Bluebird Lake and Ouzel Peak. Photo by Bill Walker
|On the trail at 3:30 a.m. on Day 2, to move camp up to Thunder Lake, then attempt Mount Alice. It would prove to be not early enough. Photo by Steph Petri
The first act was to actually backtrack a short distance, then bushwhack from the Thunder Lake Trail to the Lion Lake Trail, which had the benefit of saving us an unnecessary descent of 600 feet and over two miles of hiking in order to stay entirely on trails to the start of the actual climb. The forest was relatively open, so the bushwhack itself was uneventful and a smart move. Once back on the trail, we found a good view of the descent route from Boulder-Grand Pass. This was something that I had nagging doubts about the difficulty of, because if it proved too hard for us, we would have little choice but to backtrack over Mount Alice again. I was relieved to see that though it looked "interesting", it also looked to be reasonable with some care via a steep and narrow gully incised into the headwall of the cirque above Lake Of Many Winds.
Dave's video of our hike to Bluebird Lake.
|A topo map of our three day hike in Wild Basin. Red is Day 1, purple is Day 2, and green is Day 3. To see the topo map larger on this site, click on the map. Or click here to see a larger interactive version on CalTopo where you may also print the map, generate a pdf, create a kmz map for use in Google Earth or as a custom map for some Garmin gps units. Additionally, you may download gpx and kml files from the site. No sign in is required to do any of this.
Hike stats: 35.6 miles and 9,170' total for three days in Wild Basin
Trailhead coordinates for Wild Basin: 40.2079, -105.5664
created with Chrome OS and various webapps