Upper Mohawk Lakes, Partial Repeater-Hiked 7/4/13

20 Jul
Upper Mohawk Lake

Upper Mohawk Lake

When we started our vacation week in the mountains, the original goal was James Peak on Saturday(done), Mohawk Lakes on Sunday ( done Thursday), Quandary Peak on Tuesday ( Done), Upper Crystal Lakes on Wednesday (Skipped) and Thursday a drunken celebration (delayed), Friday up in the air since we knew the tattoos would be intense.  But that Saturday night was unexpected, Aaron had 3 bad blood sugar lows in the night, that 3rd one was especially bad at just 40 and I made the decision then we would change our hiking plans.   We slept in and headed back to town so I could work on Monday ( I didn’t have enough vacation for the whole week).

Tuesday and summiting Quandary Peak was a huge success, then we celebrated way too hard but had a great time!  When we got up at 5AM to attempt Upper Crystal Lake on Wednesday we couldn’t even eat and if we couldn’t eat we can’t hike.  It was a well deserved rest day and while Thursday was quickly upon us, Aaron graciously agreed to do this repeater because I was desperate to make it to that 3rd lake we missed out on the first time we did the hike.  We got up at 5AM and were on the trail to Upper Mohawk Lakes (hike details here) at a respectable 6:30AM.

It was a surprisingly slow start, not because we weren’t rearing to go, hung over or because we were struggling with the altitude, but because Aaron’s diabetes was just not cooperating.  He dropped fast and had to aggressively feed the insulin he had on board, since exercise helps lower blood sugar we had to just move slow.  Honestly it wasn’t a big deal to me because this trail is just crazy beautiful and since we started early, we had it all to ourselves.  Taking our time just helped me love it more and notice the changes from our first attempt last September.

Continental Falls from Spruce Creek Trail

Continental Falls from Spruce Creek Trail

Last year it had been a deep drought intense year and while we are still in drought conditions, they have let up some with our late snowy April and May, Breckenridge got like 8 feet of snow in those amazing 6 weeks.  The fact we could see the falls from way below and so far away is an example of our improved situation, last September they were nowhere to be seen until we climbed over to them.  This was a pretty joyous discovery, one we wouldn’t have necessarily noticed if we were trucking through like we planned, so yay forced slow approach!

I had to capture this reflection again on our 2nd attempt

I had to capture this reflection again on our 2nd attempt

The first time we came upon this pond I was amazed at the reflection, this time I still loved the reflection and was amazed at the additional ponds all around the main one.  There was lots of ohhhing and ahhing on my part, mostly Aaron was sick of eating to keep his blood sugar up but was handling it all like a champ.  I am so crazy proud of him and his fighting attitude!

This hike the second time around was a revelation, we were easily moving forward I am 20+lbs lighter than the first time and had a tremendous gain in stamina as well as strength.

As we came up to the scramble to the first lake, it was hardly the harrowing obstacle I remembered it to be, but simply lovely in its approach to the Lower lake and the flowers!  I mean ….WOW, they lined the trail like a parade and we were the floats.


I cannot begin to explain how different I felt from that first time we hiked this trail but I can tell I was in a very happy place.  We made quick work to the 2nd lake and the snow there only made everything prettier, we took a couple of pictures and then got so excited about a huge Columbine bush along the lake, that we missed the correct trail to the upper lake but managed to make our own way up there.

As we got to the 2nd Lake

As we got to the 2nd Lake

Seriously....just breath-taking

Seriously….just breath-taking

The fish were jumping out of the water for attention

The fish were jumping out of the water for attention

Aaron quickly made his way to the Columbine bush we were spying, completely missing the trail on the far right

Aaron quickly made his way to the Columbine bush we were spying, completely missing the trail on the far right

Nature still does it best so worth missing the trail

Nature still does it best, so worth missing the trail

We just kept moving forward not realizing we missed the trail and made our way up over the ridge.  I guess all of new-found bouldering skills have made us blind, as we got to a hard part Aaron saw the actual trail to our right and we just laughed at our ignorance. Climbing to this 3rd lake, what I think is Upper Mohawk Lake, was so easy but the bugs were really intense. This was the view as we crested the ridge


Us at Upper Mohawk Lake

Us at Upper Mohawk Lake

I have read there are 3-6 more lakes past this one and that they require serious climbing skills, but standing at this 3rd lake and seeing the trail over the next ridge made us seriously contemplate an attempt to go further.  What stopped us was a lack of real knowledge of what lay ahead and the fact that we could see 2 groups approaching this 3rd lake.   Oh and the mosquitos were a little too thrilled to have fresh meat….I know we are in short sleeves but it is maybe 55 degrees in the above picture so you know they were hearty mosquitos!  We stayed for a mere 5 minutes and then practically ran down to Mohawk lake and killed an hour taking pictures and eating some snacks.

It was an amazing day for so many reasons but mostly because you can’t beat scenery like this.  We got to actually hit every waterfall, got great pictures and this time I actually jogged down the part of the trail I fell down last time.  The only question I walked away with was is the 3rd lake upper Mohawk Lake or is the second….many passed hikers seemed to think the 2nd lake is in fact Upper Mohawk and most were only trying to get to that first lake.  Either way I am completely in love with this hike, there isn’t one bad part and the views from all over are just amazing.  It has made me realize the best thing I ever did was move to Colorado, the hiking here has opened up a huge new world to me.  I will post our favorite pictures, it should be no surprise that we took well over a thousand pictures between the 2 of us.  If you ever find yourself in Breckenridge DO THIS HIKE!

Mohawk -2 Us and east over lower mawhawk fav 2

Looking out East Over Lower Mohawk Lake

Looking out East Over Lower Mohawk Lake

Facing North from Mohawk Lake

Facing North from Mohawk Lake

Us at Mohawk Fav 4 Fav1

These Goats scampered up and the Fisher woman scared them up above her

These Goats scampered up and the fisher woman scared them up above her

They quickly climbed way above her and then stood in Judgement of her skills...she was pretty good

They quickly climbed way above her and then stood in Judgement of her skills…she was pretty good

Continental Falls up close

Continental Falls up close

Looking down and east fro the falls

Looking down and east from the falls

Some of the flowers by the falls

Some of the flowers by the falls

Same Pond and the PM Reflections on the way down

Same Pond and the PM Reflections on the way down

Aaron checking out the view east from half way down

Aaron checking out the view east from half way down

Views East From COntinentail fallsPacfici Peak and Mohawk GOod ROute picture

22 Responses to “Upper Mohawk Lakes, Partial Repeater-Hiked 7/4/13”

  1. linhartb 07/20/2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Such a beautiful hike! I love the lake reflection pictures!

  2. Vikki 07/20/2013 at 8:58 pm #

    You’ve really captured the personality of this mountain trail. The views are stunning,those reflective lakes beautiful and the flowers delightful. Thank you again for taking us with you on your adventures. It’s so much fun.

    • tjcheckley 07/20/2013 at 10:34 pm #

      Love it! Great photos! We will have to try and make time to get back to this trail and see the lakes this time. And yes, we have the bug now and can’t wait for each weekend to go on our next hike out. We have really enjoyed RMNP lately, but still want to try and do a 14er…by the end of the summer hopefully…

      • hikingtohealthy 07/23/2013 at 7:52 pm #

        It seems like you are both really killing it, I am sure a 14er by the end of summer should be no problem. The hardest part is seriously just breathing. Good Luck! You for sure have to make it back to this hike, I have been seriously thinking about those other lakes so I know I will be back again and again!

    • hikingtohealthy 07/20/2013 at 10:59 pm #

      Thanks so much Vikki!

  3. RobP 07/21/2013 at 7:06 am #

    Once again I’m completely blown away by the scenery here! Thanks for sharing your journey 🙂

    • hikingtohealthy 07/23/2013 at 7:53 pm #

      I know Rob, this is a pretty awesome place to live, I have been feeling really lucky with my backyard these past 17 months! Thank you for checking it out!

  4. Carolyn 07/21/2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  5. Flora Poste 07/22/2013 at 4:58 am #

    Agin thank you so much for your lovely blog and sharing your journey! The pictures are so stunning and may I add: the two of you look so healthy and happy! Good for you!!! More of this please!

    • hikingtohealthy 07/23/2013 at 7:54 pm #

      Wow, thank you, we are feeling really healthy and so happy to such an amazing backyard!!

  6. Carolyn 07/22/2013 at 8:38 am #

    I nominated you for a blog award! I just put the post up. 🙂

  7. Carol Page-Potter 07/23/2013 at 4:52 am #

    Beautiful, beautiful location – thank you for sharing. I can see why you love it there.

    • hikingtohealthy 07/23/2013 at 7:46 pm #

      Thanks Carol! I just can’t think of ever living any where else ever again! I am super in love with Colorado right now!

  8. twogypsyhearts 07/23/2013 at 8:47 am #

    Hi! I nominated you for the Liebster Award. Please get the badge at http://twogypsyheartsincolorado.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/liebster-award/ and get more info. Enjoy and have a great day.

  9. Melissa 07/23/2013 at 3:26 pm #

    What a gorgeous hike! Noted for my next trip to CO. 🙂

    • hikingtohealthy 07/23/2013 at 7:41 pm #

      It really is an amazing hike! I hope you get to check it out!

  10. Glenn 08/08/2013 at 8:31 pm #

    I hiked up with my grandson, age 11, on August 8, 2013. We saw lower and upper Mohawk lakes, then took off to the upper valleys. If you’ve never gone way up, you need to. First of all, you get past all the crowds. We didn’t see anybody after the upper Mohawk. There are falls and cascades from each lake. I’m not sure how many lakes we passed, at least 7 more. Very peaceful and quite, tons of wild flowers and butterflies. We were sitting down eating our lunch, and a heard of 27 mountain goats walked up to see what was going on. They bedded down within 10′ of us, not worried about us at all. We drove to the end of the road and hiked from there, didn’t get there until about noon. If you get he chanc to hike this area again, try to get passed all the crowds and go to the upper valley. Well worth the hike. By the way, did you see the white cross near the upper falls? Said RIP, I think Henderson. What’s the story.

    • hikingtohealthy 08/10/2013 at 8:13 pm #

      Wow Glenn that sounds amazing! I think when we do this again, we will go as far as we physically can although you and your grandson sound super epic! I had read in prep for this hike that after the 3rd lake you need serious mountain climbing skills, do you agree with that? We are not mountain climbers and so while that 4th lake looked easy to get too, we were worried we would go too far for our skill level. I would love to know you thoughts!?!?! As for the cross, have no idea the story behind it but it sounds like something I will now obsessively research until I find out. Other dedications I have heard of often relate to Lightening deaths, not sure this is the case here. Thanks so much for checking out my post on the Mohawk lakes, I have to tell you it is one of my favorites hikes in Colorado so far!

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