Tag Archives: Hanging Lake

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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Hanging Lake Trail, Glenwood Canyon CO 9/27/13

15 Oct

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Hanging Lake Trail

Starting Elevation: 6387 Ft

Highest Elevation: 7323 Ft

Trail Length:  Officially 2.4 round trip but we probably hit 3.5 ish with all the walking around we did.

Trail Uses: Hiker only

Degree of Difficulty:  Officially Strenuous, but it isn’t long, just steep so I will say moderate to difficult. The whole trip took 3.5 hours including gawking time at the top.

Bathrooms: Yes at the parking lot

Pets: No and like super no- if they go in the lake they could ruin the nature of the beauty….

Fees:  None

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Hanging Lake is one of those things that everyone in Colorado tells  you that you have to go and see it in person.  Even non hikers have been there, that also means it has insanely heavy traffic all the time and all year round.  I had hoped to hit it earlier in the summer so that when my sister came into town I would be able to prepare her better but we celebrated a little too hard after our summiting our first 14er, Quandary instead it was a cancel and recover decision.

This was the perfect hike to experience for the first time with Mary and it was a nice small step up in elevation to help get to some higher hikes in the following days.  Unfortunately the weather was not on our side we had initially planned a super early departure from where we were staying in Breckenridge but then I backed off because the forecast changed from rain/snow for the afternoon to the morning…

It was full on blizzard conditions as we drove over Vail pass but turned to super heavy rain as we continued down to Glenwood Canyon.  When we pulled into the shockingly EMPTY parking lot, it was just a nice drizzle and there was just one other group of hikers getting into rain gear.  We got out and hit the bathroom while deciding what to do, we were there already and it wasn’t pouring anymore so we decided to go for it.

Trail sign Start of the trail

Initially the trail is paved along the Colorado River, and then you get to the trail part pretty quickly and easily.   It is 1.2 miles, pretty much straight up with lots of rocks and 5-6 bridge crossings over Dead Horse Gulch.  At the end it is so steep that there is a railing to hold onto as you climb up the final rocks to the lake.  Which is stunning. I mean seriously.

It starts out easy-ish

It starts out easy-ish

Then it starts to get rockier

Then it starts to get rockier

There are 5-6 bridges  to cross and they are numbered.

There are 5-6 bridges to cross and they are numbered.

Every Quarter of a mile there is a post tracking how far you have gone.

Every Quarter of a mile there is a post tracking how far you have gone.

This rock path was so cool we had to get pictures.

This rock path was so cool we had to get pictures.

Perspective of the rock path

Perspective of the rock path

When we got to the final stretch, the railing popped up and the views of the canyon were amazing even in the rain.  Mary is “uncomfortable” with heights so when I took this picture she kept saying “careful!”  It was cute and there was a very sturdy railing behind us, so unnecessary.

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Just Over the top of this climb

Apparently this is some type of geological anomaly where the travertine deposit  under the lake effects the water as seeps through the limestone all around.  It creates the most lovely shade of aquamarine regardless of weather…. case in point, it was super cloudy when we were there and the lake almost glowed blue-green through all the gray.  It is also incredibly clear and you can see the trout swimming all over the place.  In order for this treasure to stay this way, fishing and swimming is strictly prohibited because our body oils would change the composition of the lake and its beauty would evaporate.  There is a very nice platform almost all the way around for viewing and signs explaining the rare occurrence that creates this beautiful lake.  Plus signs all over saying don’t go in the lake or on the dead tree that slices through the middle,  unfortunately people ignore it all the time and if you google it online you eventually see someone walking out on to the log and risking the future of this lake.  Every time I see those pictures it hurts my heart, more so now that I have seen it myself.

The Lake Log sign Log

This place is super crowded all the time, except the day we were there.  It was actually perfect, we had the way up mostly to ourselves through some drizzle and when we got to the top the rain stopped long enough for us to get some great pictures and then it started up again as we headed down.  It also started to get more crowded but nothing like what I have read, it was actually pretty magical.

It was also interesting to watch the differently prepared groups of people hiking up….people in shorts and tank tops – it was maybe 45 degrees out and raining.  The 2 motorcyclist carrying their helmets up totally not dressed for hiking, pretty sure they turned around after we told them they weren’t quite halfway up…. I must learn to lie better in those situations.  People climbing up in keds, it is the short distance and that tricks so many.  It is still a tough hike so make sure you prepare like you would for any alpine hike.  After the directions are a few more pictures.  I cannot wait to bring more people to Hanging Lake, we loved it!

Directions:  Hanging lake is in Glenwood Canyon , just before you reach Glenwood Springs.  You can only get to it from the East bound side of I70 and if the parking lot is full, then you need to drive around and keep checking for a spot or come back another day.  Seriously no parking spot no hike. This also means if you are coming from the East, you have to drive 5 miles past and then double back to get to the trailhead.  Travel 22 miles west of Eagle on I-70 to the Grizzly Creek exit in Glenwood Canyon.After exiting, get back on the highway going eastbound to the Hanging Lake exit.The trail begins 1/4 mile east of the rest area on the left just before the bridge.

A shelter along the way and lots of benches help with the steep climb

A shelter along the way and lots of benches help with the steep climb

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Fish

Fish

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