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Roosevelt Lakes, Colorado Trip


This excursion was a bit unorganized and spur of the moment, but still turned out to be an excellent trip. We had kind of been going back and forth on destinations and when to go, but finally we made a decision. We woke up at around 8:00 AM and threw a standard kit in our packs. We hit the road around 10:00 AM getting to the trailhead late at 11:00 AM.

Roosevelt Lakes

Distance: 4.6 miles (9.2 miles round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate-Hard
Month Hiked: July
Garmin GPS File: Roosevelt_Lakes.GPX

We filled out the backcountry permit after a pre-hike check and inspection, then set off. The trail is beautiful and, for much of it, runs along a small stream. The hike starts off alright getting more difficult in the second half of the 4.6 miles. The last 1.5 miles or so were brutal though! At least they were for me. I started feeling little bit off so we decided to make camp off the trail there. I had some food, relaxed, and the next day felt much better. Probably should have kept going to reduce my altitude, but I wasn't thinking clearly so it didn't cross my mind. Something that will cross my mind if it happens again, however.

We woke up early on the second day to head down to the lakes. When I opened the tent the sun was just coming up and you could see the fingers and draws of the terrain for miles. Getting out of the tent we saw four elk charge over the ridge and run around for a few minutes. We packed up camp and headed down. As it turns out we were a lot closer than I had thought and probably could have made it without too much trouble.

We surveyed the area and found a suitable campsite, setup, and ate breakfast. There is a large boulder next to the lower lake that provides a good windblock for your tent. It also makes cooking a lot easier not having to battle the wind. Be careful for marmots though, they will surround you once you start cooking. The spot was very nice we only saw one person the whole time we were camped.

Since I usually take too much food I tried to lighten the load a bit this time. From now on I think I will go back to my system of bringing more than enough, because I did not like feeling like I had to ration my food supply as much as I did. There are many large rocks and boulders that you can find to help block wind, but do be aware that windy conditions seem to be the norm - it's the alpine afterall.

It was a great day and fishing was excellent. The weather was really nice only spitting a little bit of rain here and there. The wind could be pretty intense, but it was calm throughout most of the afternoon surprisingly. I caught a couple fish that we cooked up and all in all had a great time, though the marmots began to surround us while cooking the fish.

Fishing info

Fly(s): Olive Wooly Bugger (sparkle body, large)
Species: Greenback Cutthroat trout
Time: 10:00 AM

The next day it was time to go. The hike was tough, the views amazing, lots of wildlife, good fishing, but we're not allowed to stay so it was time to head home. Coming back down the trail really makes you realize how ridiculous it is. A hardcore backpacker with an ultra-light setup might not think of this as that difficult, but for me and my luxury items it was not easy and took 3-4 hours. Check out the photos section for pictures.

July 19th, 2012

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