This page has pictures and brief descriptions of three camping trips that we took during the summer of 2002. The first is a short backpacking trip that I took with our friends Clint and Shawn. Kathy did not go. The second is a 2-night stay near the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, during which Kathy and I and some friends climbed Mt. Harvard. The third is an overnight backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park with our friends Abby and Lincoln.
Here are a few pictures that I (Michael) took during a backpacking/hiking trip with my friends Clint and Shawn. The Rawah Wilderness is a roadless area north of Cameron Pass in northern Colorado. We left work early on Friday, August 4th, and arrived at the trailhead in the early afternoon. We hiked uphill about 6 miles before we set up camp. After setting up camp we hiked up to some lakes above tree line and spent the rest of the afternoon fishing (actually, I don't fish, so I hiked around and looked at the scenery while Clint and Shawn fished.)
The following morning Clint and I climbed to the top of South Rawah Peak while Shawn hiked to some lakes farther north to fish. Clint and I did most of our climb in the middle of clouds, and had little visibility, but the clouds cleared out when we reached the top and gave us some great views. As we came back down we met up with Shawn, fished for a while, then returned to camp because the weather was starting to rain and thunder.
At camp, the rain stopped long enough for us to relax a while, cook and eat dinner, and clean up. Then it started to rain and hail really hard. We had planned on camping one more night, but the rain changed our minds. We packed everything up in 30 minutes and hiked back down the trail. Parts of the trail had changed into a temporary creek, which made for interesting hiking. We were back at the truck in about 2 hours.
Clint and Shawn unpacking the truck a short distance from the trailhead. My loaded backpack is standing in the dirt.
A waterfall along our trail. A creek follows much of the trail, and it had less water than normal this year due to a severe drought in Colorado. We made our trip on one of the few rainy weekends of the summer.
Clint checks the map to see if this is a good place to set up camp.
Our campsite. We found a good spot with flat ground and protection from the wind. Meadows and a creek are nearby.
Clint displays his trophy fish at Crater Lake. Most of the fish in the lake were little brook trout like this one.
This is a view of Crater Lake from above, taken on Saturday morning. We are just beginning our climb of South Rawah Peak. South Rawah is a 13,000+ ft. mountain. Notice the clouds near the top of the picture - we soon ascended into them.
Clint and the valley shortly after we entered the clouds.
That's me standing proudly atop South Rawah Peak. Isn't the view great?
Clint on South Rawah Peak
Looking down and west into North Park. That's a drop of several thousand feet. The descent looks much steeper in person than it does in this photograph.
Looking northwest from the peak.
Looking north at me and the northern end of the Rawah Wilderness.
A panoramic picture of Lake Number 4. We passed this lake during our descent. The Rawahs have so many lakes that most of them are named by number. This wide picture is stitched together from several photographs and you may need to scroll your browser window to see all of it. We didn't fish this lake because it's banks are so steep. Shawn fished a few of the smaller lakes visible to the right of Lake Number 4.
Over Labor Day weekend Kathy and I climbed Mt. Harvard, the 3rd tallest mountain in Colorado at 14,420 ft. We spent the night before and the night after our climb at Brown's Campground, a high-density private campground south of Buena Vista. I prefer the spaciousness and privacy of camping in the wilderness, but the women and small children in our group prefered the conveniences of private campgrounds (bathrooms and showers.)
A view of Brown's Campground. Tent sites are spaced about 30 feet apart. We managed to fit 5 tents on our site. Kathy is in the foreground, facing away, while Clint, Sasha, and John are gathered around Clint and Sasha's son, Nathan.
We began our climb before sunrise on Saturday morning.
Avalanche damage. This hill is beside the trail that leads to Mt. Harvard. A snow avalanche must have flattened the trees here several years ago. Young trees have begun to reforest the hill. The forested sections of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness (which is in San Isabel National Forest) have large amounts of dead wood on the ground. I'm glad that Colorado's forest fires didn't reach this area this summer.
Michael climbing Mt. Harvard. The mountain on the right in the distance is Mt. Yale (14,196 feet.) Shawn and I climbed it a few years earlier.
Sharp ridge between Harvard and Columbia. This "knife-edge" ridge connects Mt. Harvard on the left to Mt. Columbia on the right. Many climbers climb Harvard and Columbia (14,073 feet) in the same day, using a trail on the opposite side of this ridge. We weren't energetic enough to try it.
Kathy and Clint climbing Mt. Harvard. Bear Lake is far below them in the distance.
Michael and Kathy on the peak of Mt. Harvard. It was windy and cold on top, but the weather was otherwise good.
Panoramic view from the peak This picture contains around 200 degrees of the view from the peak. It is quite wide, so you will probably need to scroll your browser window to the right to see the entire picture.
Staying warm. After reaching the top, we spent much of our time crouching between the rocks to avoid the wind until the whole group had finished the climb. Nikki, Kathy and Clint are pictured here. Clint's father-in-law, Gary was the last to arrive.
Another view from the peak.
One week after climbing Mt. Harvard we took another camping trip, this time backpacking into Rocky Mountain National Park with our friends Abby and Lincoln. We bought a 1-night pass to the Sourdough backcountry site. The backcountry sites are secluded, and the only improvements they offer are a flat spot to pitch tents and a pit toilet. We chose to make this an easy trip. Our hikes were short, and we didn't climb any moutain peaks. On Saturday we hiked to our campsite and set up, then continued to Odessa Lake. We returned to camp before dark and spent the evening eating dinner and playing cards. Sunday morning we packed up camp and hiked down to Two Rivers Lake for breakfast and a short church service - Lincoln is a former church pastor.
Kathy, Abby, and Lincoln put on sunscreen and stretch before we begin the hike.
Lincoln, Abby, and Kathy hiking up the trail to camp.
Kathy, Lincoln, Abby and Michael on the way to camp. Mount Wuh is in the background.
Scenic overlook. To the right and below is Odessa Lake.
Little Matterhorn, seen on our way to Odessa Lake.
Michael in front of Little Matterhorn.
Talking by Odessa Lake.
Another view of Odessa Lake. No one was interested in swimming or wading since the water temperature was just slightly above freezing.