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Brainard Lake – Blue Lake hike

Spectacular colors on Brainard Lake Road
Spectacular colors on Brainard Lake Road

Friday, midnight, Moose and I are packed into the van and driving West, up the Rocky Mountains. Our destination was only to get to Ward, Colorado were we parked the van and called it a night. At 6:30 in the morning coffee was brewing and we were only a short drive away from our destination; Brainard Lake Recreation Area.

Mitchell Lake with Mt Audubon in the background
Mitchell Lake with Mt Audubon in the background

Any long time reader may recognize the name as I visited the park in July of 2013. Then I hiked out to Lake Isabelle. This trip it was decided to take the other trail up to and past tree-line. Mitchel Trail leads into the Indian Peaks Wilderness on the north side of Pawnee Peak past Mitchel Lake and to Blue Lake, 3 miles out and just above tree-line.

Moose scanning for moose during a break
Moose scanning for moose during a break

I was not sure Moose could handle the 6 miles round trip, but he seemed more than happy to give it a try and I must admit that he seemed to handle the mileage better than me. The trail climbs gently up too and beyond the 11,000 foot tree-line surrounded by monstrous peaks on three sides, and thankfully not the fourth. Pawnee Peak, Mt Toll, Paiute Peak, and Mt Audubon all extend above 12,000 feet and watch over the valley in which Moose and I were hiking.

A Marmot expresses his opinion of Me and Moose walking past his home
A Marmot expresses his opinion of Me and Moose

With Moose checking under about every rock on our side of the shoreline, I settled down to snap off a few photos before turning back down the trail. We finished by noon, just as the crowds were taking over the park. A quick van-prepared lunch and nap cemented it as a great day away from civilization. The new camera got a workout as well. Those 3 extra megapixels sure make a difference.

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September ramblings

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As December – the start of new adventures – draws closer, the number of items on my todo list seem only to breed litters of offspring. In some masochistic way it is a good thing, as it is keeping me busy in an otherwise boring daily life living within city limits. I’ve been going through a never ending list of trinket fix-em-ups in the van, which seems to cure the urge to be out and exploring almost as much as actually getting out. I love to tinker just as much as I love to travel.

With Hawaii as my first destination I have grown increasingly concerned about my ability to go topless. If I am going to be on the beaches of Hawaii, I am going to strip off my shirt as often as possible and splash among the waves. The only problem is that I have not been as diligent with my workout routine this past month as I was earlier in the summer. This week that has changed, but I am paying the price, with extra taxes. Today, after four solid afternoons at the gym, I can not find a muscle that is not screaming out for a break. That is a good thing for my topless-ness later down the road, but not easily slept through each night.

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Full-timing in a van while exploring the country