Tag Archives: Breckenridge Colorado

Peaks Trail #45, Breckenridge CO Hiked 5/3/14

9 May

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Starting Elevation:  10,075 Ft

Highest Elevation: 10,221 Ft

Trail Length: We did a total of 6.5 miles round trip but you can take this trail all the way to Frisco for 10 miles one way.

Trail Uses: Hiker, biker, cross-country skiing, snowshoe,

Degree of Difficulty:  Moderate to difficult depending on how far you want to take it.

Fees: None

Bathrooms:  None at the trailhead but the Grand Lodge on Peak 7 is a resort right next to the trailhead and does have public bathrooms

Pets:  Yes – I think they are supposed to be on leash but there were some(most) not on leash

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Three years ago we impulsively bought a time share in Breckenridge and because we have spent that money I make sure to always take advantage of it when I can.  They offer something called bonus time to owners, which means when the resort isn’t full they sell the rooms for a third of the cost they normally are.  This past weekend was one of those weekends there was availability via bonus time and on top of it if we sat through another sales pitch, we got the room for 2 nights for $38.  Needless to say we took advantage of the deal.   The best part of the stay is that this trail we wanted to do is right next to the resort…. well that and the hot tubs.

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The not so great part is the resort allows pets and guess where everyone comes to walk their dogs…. this trail head, where apparently none of them ever bother to pick up after their dogs.   It was a poo minefield for the first quarter-mile, it was actually hard to miss stepping in it all while walking through this first section.

We were out on the trail just 30 minutes after we got up, at 7AM.  The snow was icy and stable so all we needed for most of the hike was traction devices.  The sky was the most beautiful blue, I don’t think the day could have been more perfect for us to be out hiking.  After the poo-field, the trail goes up a little, then down a little then up and down some more.   Nothing too crazy but a good workout on snow and ice regardless.

These trail markers make following the path in the snow easy. Very well marked

These trail markers make following the path in the snow easy. Very well-marked

Trail Conditions in the beginning

Trail Conditions in the beginning

We came to this road a little less than mile in, but the trail was well-marked on the other side.

crossing the road

It isn’t far from this junction that the views just open up on both sides of the trail.

Looking North and East

Looking North and East

Looking West

Looking West

We started to hear the melting snow all over and then we crossed over a snow melt stream, this one is the first of 3 or 4 we would cross from this point forward and while the picture doesn’t quite capture it, we are 4-5 feet above the stream on snow

crossing over snow melt

It was just after this we ended up on a Nordic Center snowshoe trail, which threw us because we didn’t remember seeing a trial break.  Fortunately, I had sort of  remembered from our snowshoe at the Nordic Center(snowshoe details here) that there was one part of the trail system that merged with the Peaks Trail so we kept moving forward and kept an eye out for a blue diamond.  I do have to say when it went off on its own there was absolutely no snow the way it went, I was a little jealous, I am definitely done with snow.

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We continued on and got the absolute best views of the day in the next section which was pretty flat until it started to descend to the three mile marker and this beautiful pool about 6 ft below us but the picture doesn’t show how high the snow was.

fav2 good view

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We felt really good and almost went further but we didn’t want to go too far and then spend hours post holing back to the trailhead.  Instead we decided to turn around and promised each other to walk the 2 miles down to town for a little extra movement.  We did walk those 2 miles to town and around town for a total of 12 miles over the course of the day which isn’t too bad.

This trail was spectacular and I cannot wait to try it in the summer or fall, the trees were perfect, the views amazing and frankly I would love to say I walked to Frisco on it.  You can really get out of it whatever you want, just make sure to go a mile to a mile and half in so you can see the best views possible,

I hope whatever your plans are for the weekend, they involve hiking!

Directions:  from I70 to Breckenridge take 9 to Lincoln/Ski Hill,  turn right.  Take Ski Hill for approximately 2 miles to Grand lodge on Peak 7 – drive just past the Resort and follow the road, as soon as it is unpaved you will see the trailhead on the left.

I thought these looked like ice ornaments instead of icicles

I thought these looked like ice ornaments instead of icicles

nice view

Mt. Flora Trail (Repeater) 9/29/13

20 Oct

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I had grandiose visions of how this hike might turn out…lots of ooooohhhhhhhssss and aaaahhhhsss.  And while  when I planned out it made perfect sense, in the end, the weather sometimes just doesn’t cooperate.

We had a crazy good time in Breckenridge and it was hard to crawl out of bed to make our way to Mt. Flora (hike details here) on our way back to reality, so we moved a little more slowly then my perfect planning dictated, but I didn’t care because this was the 4th hike in 4 days and I was determined regardless…….. oh wait I am lying, I was totally done hiking and just wanted to veg doing fun touristy things for the rest of our time together.  Instead of telling Mary of where I was at, I said nothing and as we pulled up to the trailhead I started preparing her for a shortened hike.  It truly was windy in the parking lot and would be 10 -100  times windier at the summit…..

Mary for her part was a super trooper to the end.

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I made her point at the continental Divide trail as proof she hiked part of it…… I think it meant more to me then her

We had all we needed to get to the summit, crampons, gaiters, lots of extra clothes and poles….. what we didn’t have was the best conditions, oh and a guide(me) who was worried after the hike the day before with her guest hiker’s issues with heights.  Not worried about the trail but the person who was “uncomfortable” with heights. On any given day this trail is not hard but it is super high and after you turn a corner the views are REALLY expansive.   Lets not talk about the climb up…with snow …and wind.   There was a point where, when I looked back and poor Mary was so uncomfortable  that I am pretty sure she was shaking, just a little bit.  As a person who has been hiking up high for a while and has no problems with heights, this was a revelation.  I tried to see it the way she saw it, I imagine it looks like seeing through a fisheye lens with skewed blurry edges, everything else just looking off and too close while looking too far away at the same time.  It feels terrifying I imagine, fortunately for me I only get exhilarated when up high seeing the views.

When I got to the point where I was sure the snow would be less deep (and promised Mary this would be the case) and we would be traversing across the mountain, I saw the snow was still like 10+ inches deep.  It was too much and the wind was picking up so I turned us around, not because of how Mary was doing but because I knew after the traverse I would have to turn us around anyway because the wind would be super hard at that elevation to ever summit.  There was no reason to put her through more than she could take to only turn her around a half a mile later.

Turnaround point

Turnaround point

After we turned around she confessed she would have been ok if we had skipped hiking this 4th hike….. sometimes it is ok to trick everyone into a little workout even if no one wanted that workout.   The views were amazing but the trail small and so I kept moving around her taking pictures of us, the hard part was that she could not not move or not say careful careful….  I will tell you that we laughed A LOT.

seriously dont move....

seriously don’t move….

getting windier

getting windier

Seriously windy

Seriously windy

Heading back down she realized that it wasn’t as hard as she imagined it would be going down and that if I had turned her around a half mile later she would have been really mad at me….. It was the right choice.  We took in the crazy amazing views on our way back down and decided to get some yummy food in Winter Park.   I used Yelp to find something good and we hit this place on the main strip called Denos Mountain Bistro, we weren’t really all that concerned if it was good just as long we could enjoy the end of our vacation in style.   I think the shock was how stinking good it was….like seriously unbelievably good, been dreaming about it since I was there good…..  Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Colorado.  If you are in WInter Park, go there on a Sunday and get the Brunch Burger it is like heaven on a bun and I don’t even like burgers all that much!  Their Eggs Benedict was perfect too and more…. Mary got the Brunch Burger and I resented her for getting to enjoy the whole thing while I got just a piece of it.

Ok here are the last pics I got before the wind was just too much and a promise from Mary that she will try this hike again when there is less or no snow.

good view with a great friend trying for a selfie One more too cute

 

Lower Mohawk Lake (Repeater), Hiked 9/28/13

19 Oct

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When we got back to our condo after hiking Hanging Lake, the weather actually got worse but that didn’t stop us from hitting the hot tub…..in blizzard type weather.   It was awesome!

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When I talked to the front desk they said that there would likely be 3-5 inches of snow in the morning but it would also be beautiful and sunny first thing in the morning so we stuck to the plan of hitting the Mohawk lakes.  I can’t lie, I always have  the underlying motive of trying to get all my favorite people to fall in love with Colorado and want to move here too.   For me the mohawk lakes ( Hike details here) show all the best of Colorado and is not that long, just outside of Breckenridge, with lakes and beautiful views.   The down side of Mohawk Lakes is that it is crowded with lots of people who don’t care about rules or any one else’s experience (did you read bitter here because it is so there).

It was pretty cold when we started but Mary was a trooper and getting suspicious.  She had asked how the trail was the night before and I said it is pretty easy (lie) until it is not (truth) and that is pretty much flat (lie) until it is not (truth)…. lets just say half way through she was on to me….. I think the best part was when we came to the series of ponds and I pointed out where we were going and she said um WHAT!?!?!?! I totally got what she was feeling, I remember doing this trail and thinking there is no way I am making it up there.  I told her trust me, before you know it we will be up there and you will wonder why you thought it was too hard.  She totally didn’t believe me….. until not that long after we were up there and she was like “WOW”

There was one little wrinkle that presented itself as we got closer to the falls  there was a group of  7 or 8 hikers with like 9 dogs…off leash (illegal) that kept kinda of barging their way past or into our hike.  At first it was just the dogs that caught up to us…. then 3 owners so we thought nothing.   Just kept moving on.  But by the time we reached the scramble I was completely over it when one of the dogs pushed its way through my legs and almost knocked me over.  We waited at the start the scramble until after they passed us, I have to admit I did not know how big the group was until that moment… seriously the owner of the dog who knocked me over walked by and I said yeah I don’t want to battle on the scramble with unleashed dogs and she said imagine how hard it would be for me if I leashed her to me…. um WHAT !?!?!?!?!?!.  Then the last person in their group was trying to be nice and let us go ahead of them and I said there is no way I can do the scramble and battle 9  unleashed dogs….  My sister was surprised at my open contempt.  Heres the thing  I LOVE dogs…. I Mean super love them but on a trail with a scramble at 11,000+ ft, an untrained dog is like asking to hurt someone.   Trained controlled dogs no problem….puppies with no training and an owner who thinks it is not her problem…. HUGE problem.

Mary and I at the Continental Falls

Mary and I at the Continental Falls

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Outside of my uncontrolled dog issues, Mary was not faring as well as I had hoped she would.  She has “issues” with heights and the huge expanses as we climbed the scramble made me realize maybe she needs a better guide, which immediately transported me back to my first attempt.  It is freaky when you first climb it.  With the snow from the night before…. well it looked intimidating.  Mary, though is a fighter( I think she got that from our mom and dad)  she battled her discomfort the whole time.  When we got to the Lower lake and decided the best choice was to eat, rest and then head down, she got it all under control like the champ she is.

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I am so happy!

Can you tell we are sisters....I mean our look couldn't be more identical

Can you tell we are sisters….I mean our look couldn’t be more identical

At the end she was so happy we made it to Lower Mohawk Lake but I think that maybe we both learned(big lesson for me) that someone who is completely ok with heights should warm up someone who isn’t a little more thoroughly. Either way it was a perfect day for us both!  Here are some of our favorite pictures from the hike.

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Us at the scramble on the way down…Mary is MUCH more relaxed here.

Views at the scramble....love how snow is like the perfect frosting.

Views at the scramble….love how snow is like the perfect frosting.

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The 2 perfect peaks are Grays and Torreys

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Quandary Peak 14,265 Ft (our first 14er!!!!!), Breckenridge CO 7/2/13

10 Jul
Views at the summit

Views at the summit

Quandary Peak Trail, East Approach

Starting Elevation: 10,995Ft

Summit Elevation:  14,295 Ft ( 3300ft total elevation gain)

Trail Length: 6.5- 7 miles miles officially ( my fitbit said 8 miles at the end)  It took us 6.5 hrs; 3:45 hrs going up  2:45hrs coming down

Trail Uses: Hiker, Biker, Horses

Degree of Difficulty:  Strenuous

Bathrooms: There are at least 2 parking lots and the first one does have port-o-potties, the one we parked at did not

Pets: On leash

Fees:  None

Summit Marker

Summit Marker

Quandary is really close to Breckenridge where we were staying and one of the easier 14ers you can do in Colorado.  I can’t lie in that I wanted to try a really easy one for our first 14er.  After our reluctant turnaround so close to the summit of James Peak a few days before, we made sure to not chance weather coming in at the wrong time when we tried Quandary, so we got up at 2:30AM and to the trail head at 4AM.  We have also heard that the trail is crazy crowded the later in the day you go and we kinda wanted it to ourselves so we could go at our own pace, breathing as heavily as we needed.   Plus we could barely sleep anyway because we were so excited for our first attempt  at a 14er!!!!

As we pulled up there were already 3 cars in the parking lot, we got ready in record time and right before we started , there were people in one of the cars and one came over to talk to us.  He said that he was a camp counselor that had brought a group of kids to hike Quandary to catch the sunrise and one of their kids got altitude sickness so he was sitting with him.  apparently this was a surprise since he had done Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive earlier in the week, just a reinforcement that you never know when altitude sickness is going to hit.

Here are the pictures I took of the parking lot and trail head when we got back down around 11:30AM

Parking LotTrailhead signs

Walk across the road to the trailhead

Walk across the road to the trailhead

Trailhead signage

There is something weird about hiking with your headlamp on, it feels strangely exposing in that we don’t know who or what is watching us.  At the same time, it forces you to only to pay attention to the trail lit up in front of you and not dread what you see up ahead which kinda makes the incline seem much easier, for me at least.  Plus it means coming back down will be like doing a loop hike because it will be brand new for us.

Proof we started while it's still dark

Proof we started while it was still dark

We actually made surprisingly good time to get for the first 2-2.5 miles and as the sun started rising we were just at the tree line.

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What it looked during the day

What it looked during the day

The colors as the sun rises always take my breath away, as we were approaching the gravel we could see the top of Quandary lit up in a beautiful pink gold.

Getting close to the traverse. Quandary looks beautiful

Getting close to the traverse. Quandary looks beautiful.

The trail at this point was a nice steady climb with some rocks mostly dirt, it did get steep on occasion but not too bad.

As we moved to the next part of climb, it is through a ton of rocks all sizes and gravel, to me it seemed like the steepest part of the trail.  Which coincidentally, is also the hardest part of the trail both going up and coming down.  The ground is pretty unstable and then the steep grade, well it makes the trip down more challenging.

Coming down the gravel part

Coming down the gravel part

Going up it around 7AM

Going up it around 6:30AM

After the gravel climb it levels out for a nice comfy traverse which lets you catch your breath and feel more comfortable with the altitude, in fact I felt so good that as we approached the summit climb I figured it would be cake.  We hit the summit climb a little before 7AM.

The traverse in the distance as we were climbing down from the summit

The traverse in the distance as we were climbing down from the summit

The path up the ridge to the summit is totally hidden until you are on top of it and I was kinda worried we would be bouldering up the 1000+ feet in elevation left to go, but as you follow what you are on, you see it clearly and it is very well planned out.  It is steep and you can find yourself bouldering a little on accident, but then spot the trail just ahead.  The hardest part was just plain old breathing, we found ourselves stopping every 20-30 feet just to catch our breath.

Super close to the summit

Super close to the summit

The last little bit was over a small snow field, it was well used and already slick.   Aaron’s issue with heights kicked in here so we did take the time put our yaktrax on but I don’t think they are necessary.  It did help us get to the summit, and put Aaron more at peace although once we took a few pictures together on the summit, he sat in a wind shelter and didn’t move until we went back down, asking me like 10 times to watch out….not so close… Trust me the summit is plenty big no fear of falling off.

Snow field Before summit

View East from the Summit

View East from the Summit

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It was pretty emotional for me when we got to the top, I felt so incredibly accomplished after losing almost 2/3s of the weight and training for a year and a half, we did it!  I totally cried happy tears!  Then I cried tears of amazement because of the views.  I am already planning for our next 14er!  We got to the summit right at 8AM, because we were so early we had it to ourselves almost the whole time, there was just one other person who came and went.  On the way down, the trail was super crowded, like I am guessing we passed over a 100-200 other hikers.  Going early was the best decision we made.  After the directions will be our favorite pictures!

Directions: From I-70, take Exit #203 for Breckenridge – Highway 9 and travel south through the towns of Breckenridge and Blue River. Travel 18.3 miles from Exit #203 to State Road 850( Blue Lakes Road) and turn right (west). Make an immediate right on McCullough Gulch Road (State Road 851 north) and travel .3 miles up the maintained dirt road to the trailhead. Spaces are limited, but roadside parking is permitted.  There is also a parking lot immediately after turning onto Blue Lakes Road with the port-o-potty but we opted to go to the Official trail head parking.

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Summit

Summit

VIews Northwest

Views Northwest

Views South

Views South

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A Momma goat posing so we ignore her kids

A Momma goat posing so we ignore her kids

Goat family

Goat family

Blue Lakes just south of Quandary at sunrise

Blue Lakes just south of Quandary at sunrise

Blue Lakes on the way down

Blue Lakes on the way down

Spring Break: Breckenridge Adventures 3/3/13 – 3/5/13

15 Mar
The view Monday morning at Breakfast

The view Monday morning at Breakfast

We went right from our hike at White Ranch Park to Breckenridge for 2 nights. The weather we had been planning on completely changed between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Instead of no snow with sunny bluebird skies, a huge snow storm was moving in for Sunday afternoon and supposed to go until Monday morning. I don’t know if you have ever experienced driving west on I70 past the Eisenhower Tunnel during a snow storm but I consider it a white knuckler as you head down a 6-8%grade decline on a typically icy road, and no I don’t have 4 wheel drive which is so stupid living here hiking like we do. I started working up my nerves at the back end of the hike as I was watching those clouds churn off to the west of us. Fortunately mother nature was on our side, the first snow flake didn’t hit until we were almost down that steep grade decline and the car was safely parked in the garage before any real snow hit. We didn’t move it again until we left Tuesday morning which was beautifully sunny so there was no ice on the return trip either, yay me!

This is how we spent Monday morning hoping we would be able to get to keystone for tubing

This is how we spent Monday morning hoping we would be able to get to keystone for tubing

Anyway, we had planned on doing tubing at Keystone on Monday with the snow coaster in Breckenridge as a follow-up. After 9 inches of snow falling they actually closed the interstate and the one road between Breckenridge and Keystone, so we had to regroup. I was able to delay our tubing reservation by 2 hours but then that meant no snow coaster for us, we took advantage of all the free transportation in Summit County. There was a free gondola ride from our condo to the bus station just off of Main street in Breckenridge and then we hopped a free bus to Keystone. The tubing was actually at the top of the mountain and so we had to ride up that Gondola too, but the snow had picked up again and we didn’t have much of a view.

The Tubing tracks at Keystone

The Tubing tracks at Keystone

A little closer

A little closer

As we walked up to the Yurt for tubing we were pretty excited, the tracks they had set up for tubing were awesome, then they had a people mover to get you back up from the bottom. We could go alone, in groups of 2, 3 or all 4 of us which we did a lot of. I think we got in 10-14 runs and we laughed and screamed the whole time. It was so fast the snow looked like moving to warp speed in Star Trek ( as observed by Anne). There were Keystone workers at the top making sure the track was clear and then they asked if you wanted to go straight or spin and spinning was freaky but AWESOME!!!! The hour went too fast and at first I thought oh man I have to get us another hour, but at the end we were all ready to be done and so we began the journey back to Breckenridge.

Anne and Lauren spinning together

Anne and Lauren spinning together

Action shot of Lauren and the 4 of us tubing together

Action shot of Anne and the 4 of us tubing together

Lauren with the white snow fog as we sped up

Lauren with the white snow fog as we sped up

We ate and hot tubbed the night away as everyone should do when in Breckenridge, then headed back home on Tuesday for our next adventures….

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Upper Mohawk Lake – Breckenridge CO 9/1/12

2 Sep Mohawk Lakes Trail

Spruce Creek Trail -> Continental Falls Trail-> Mohawk Lakes Trail:

Starting Elevation:  Approximately 10,400 ft

Final Elevation:  Approximately 12,120 ft ( 1700 ft gain)

Trip Length:  According to the trail head and all research, 7 miles round trip ( 3.5 out and 3.5 back)  According to my fitbit 8.5 miles.  We really took our time and took a ridiculous amount of pictures, if not for our awe-delay we would have been done in 4 hours likely….however we managed to spend about 2 extra hours just taking in all the spectacular sights at so many different points.

Trail Uses:  Hiker, Biker & Horses

Degree of difficulty:  Moderate to Difficult due to altitude and the last 1.5 miles.

Bathrooms:  No, as in none anywhere along the way or at either end of the trail. ( A challenge for those of us who cannot randomly pee outside and don’t want to get dehydrated)

Pets:  Yes, and on six-foot leash under control at all times.  I don’t care how well-behaved your pet is, use the leash.  I was almost knocked over twice by unleashed dogs at tough parts of the hike and the owners seemed to think it was “cute” that the dog was so excited to get to the end. Yeah, not from my perspective.

I have confession, I picked this hike for 2 reasons, first ( and probably the reason with the most weight) I needed a change of scenery for a few days and Breckenridge is one of my favorite places to spend time.  Second, this hike was one many other people said was amazing and they were all right!  The above reflection picture was one I caught while we were still on the lower part of the hike.  I have always loved pictures like this where you can get a perfect reflection in the water, this was my first time doing it myself!   So when I proposed this hike to my husband I tried to focus on how it would really help with getting us better at higher elevation hikes to keep us on the road to our first 14ner by next summer.   But really I was thinking, “Yay, a break from my own 4 walls and a hot tub”!  Oh and of course looking forward to a new adventure, really I swear….

Ok, let’s talk trail.  This is a high altitude trail in the mountains, which means we were starting higher than we had ever even hiked up to before, 10,400 ft so we knew we would need to take our time in order to deal with the higher altitude.   The other challenge, and this one is true of all summit hikes at this altitude, is that weather comes in fast here so be prepared.   We tried to be on the trail by 7 but we were moving slower then we wanted and didn’t get started until 8AM.  I knew by the weather reports that there was a good chance rain would roll in around noon.  The trail head is not very far from Breckenridge, the road in, Spruce Creek Rd, is a well maintained dirt road through a residential area with the trail head a little over a mile in.  You can’t miss the parking lot, on the other side of the parking lot is a 4×4 road which if you wanted to do the summit only you could drive up it as far as you can go and do the final 1.5 miles ( 3 miles roundtrip)  up only.  You can also hike up this 4×4 road, if you prefer that type of hiking to the forested Spruce Creek trail.

We took the Spruce Creek trail head:

While Aaron was dealing with a wardrobe malfunction, I actually read the trailhead board mainly because it looked like one of the people getting to hike was a hunter and I wasn’t sure if this was a hunting area and/or a hunting area.  It wasn’t as far as I could tell.  What I did learn was that the Spruce Creek trail is marked by squares carved into the trees, which did come in handy throughout this early part of the trail.   There are also blue diamonds placed along the trail as well.   The first 2 miles is through this beautiful wooded forest is so different from what we had been hiking through along the foothills.  I actually felt like I was in all those Grimm fairy tales where it seems all the magical stuff happens.  It starts out going along a stream, which you will cross over a few times.  I have to post a few pictures here, just because it was so pretty:

We were getting pretty excited at this point because we knew the Mohawk Lakes trail was not too far away.  What we didn’t expect was the small pond shortly past this intersection, it was reflecting Mount Helen perfectly.  We killed a solid 20 minutes taking pictures of this.  I felt so proud to have actually captured these images, although is was more likely the quality of camera then any talent of mine….

So the next trailhead is not too far from here and we popped out of the wooded coverage onto the 4×4 road I mentioned earlier.  We saw a couple hiking up the road and they said it was very exposed so on the way back they would take the way we came from to avoid extra sun exposure.  The wooded trail was shaded and so nice and cool the whole way.

Just follow this road around the curve, there is fence and the trail picks up again just past that on the left:

From here the incline increases greatly, the couple we met on the road was still with us and they both had hiking poles.  This is a good time to point out that if you have poles and want to do this hike, bring them along maybe not a big deal at this point but later on they will be so helpful….  It is not to far to the next split, you have Mayflower lake on the right and then the Mohawk Lakes and Continental falls on the left…go left!

Ok, from here on out it is quite a hike.  There are the lower falls, then the Continental falls and then all long the way are remains of the old mining operation.  We took about 30 minutes taking pictures at the lowers falls and when we popped back out to the trail our beautiful blue sky was starting to get cluttered with clouds.  At this point we made the decision to focus on getting to the top to avoid weather changes and then we would take our time going down capturing more images.  Here is what the lower falls had to offer:

So from here you get back on the trail at some old cabins, one is restored and used by hikers who get stuck when weather comes in too fast.  Something to keep in mind when planning to do this trail, make sure you are prepared for any weather.   We had on layers of clothes and more in Aaron’s backpack just in case.  It is always easier to take off clothes then to try to figure out how to get warm when things change.

From here we tackled the last part of the trail, and I read everything I could find on this hike there was a constant term used to describe this last part….a scramble and I don’t know about you but I have no idea what a scramble is.  I googled it and it was a climbing term that recommended bringing a rope.  I could only find 1 picture of this scramble and it was the very beginning where it is a series of large rock(s) you have crawl up but then it is not AS bad as I had imagined.  I was determined to get pictures but on the way down…. unfortunately Mother nature had a wicked sense of humor after we headed back down.  Every time I pulled out my camera it started raining and hailing, yep hailing!  I wanted to kick myself for not taking the time to capture the “scramble”, but here is my advice take your time and look around.  They have adjusted the trail recently, before you would scramble up along the falls using the cable left over from the mining operation to pull yourself up.  The new path is not easy but it is easier, it would have been nice to have poles to help navigate it and add some stability for my poor knees that are fighting with all my extra weight already.  Now it takes a series of steep switchbacks over lots of rocks and boulders up to the lower Mohawk lake ( I think) which a is a beautiful destination on its own.

Along the left of this lake the trail continues up to the next lake and at the time I thought this was upper Mohawk lake from all the pictures I saw but I am not so sure any longer it could be Mohawk lake and we failed to make it to the upper lake.   But it is where we stopped and spent almost an hour taking pictures because it looked like everything I saw for Upper Mohawk lake:

Where this other hiker is located is where the path comes up to the next lake, you can also see behind her the trail that goes up to at least 3-4 more lakes.  I understand from this lake on it is pretty challenging to get to the remaining lakes and actual rock climbing skills would come in handy.  We stopped here and took pictures like crazy people.  The views were just amazing, everything we moved to Colorado for.  We could see Breckenridge in the distance along with the surrounding mountains and ranges.

We are really proud of ourselves on this one, it was a new and exciting challenge.  Unfortunately we took too long at so many different points during the morning, we headed down at 11:30 with our cameras out and it started to rain big alligator tears sized drops.  We captured a few things but had packed away our cameras because of the rain.  Then we started down the scramble he sun came out and went to the top of the continental falls, took out our cameras to catch how beautiful they were and it started hailing.  We stayed there for a while thinking it would stop and then finally gave up and as soon as we got back to the trail the sun came out blazing hot….I think you get the point, it was like this the rest of the way down until we actually gave up pulling out the camera and then I think it drizzled only one more time.

This is a spectacular hike, I think it should be on everyone’s bucket list as it has some of everything that makes Colorado so special.   Take your time doing it and don’t ignore the changing weather, it was a tough time getting down the scramble when it was wet.  Start early and know the weather for the day.  It is really only a summer hike although I have read it can be a good snow shoe route, really the beauty is best now!  I think snow shoeing would be quite a challenge, one I am not ready for yet.

How to get there:

From Breckenridge, drive south on U.S. Highway 9. From the last stoplight in Breckenridge to Spruce Creek Road is about 2.4 miles, turn right on Spruce Creek Road. Drive about 1 mile to a well-marked parking area and trailhead.

Here are just some more pictures from the day: