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.
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!
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.
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
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!