Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fungi and Moose

We backpacked the Rawah Lakes Loop this past weekend. We walked with the pack for 21 miles in three days and two nights. It was gorgeous! But rainy for a small part of the time. I always prepare for rain but have hardly ever needed to use the rain gear here in Colorado. This was an exception. The lushness of the forest was worth it though. The woods were so green and moist and accented by the bits of rain on them. Another bonus, the riparian nature of this area is great for moose! We saw three moose – two at Twin Crater lakes and one near the West Branch trail head. Of course, there were many fungi. Love it.

Day 1: West Branch Trail Head to Twin Crater Lakes (7.3 miles)

It was slightly overcast when we started around 12:30pm at the West Branch Trail Head. About 90 minutes later it started drizzling, which felt pretty nice. About an hour after that it started raining. It stopped when we got to a campsite next to a meadow below Twin Crater Lakes. The rain ceased for the remainder of the evening and we hiked up to the lakes. These were the most beautiful lakes of all the lakes we saw on this trip. The alpine landscape was dotted with large- and medium-sized rocks and we saw our first moose (two actually)!

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As you can see from the photo, one of the moose arose and stared at us. We didn’t stick around that long.

The next morning we woke up to the pitter-patter of rain on the tent. It rained for the next hour and a half. Reluctantly, we exited the tent to have coffee and breakfast. It continued to rain. We were not pleased.

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Around 9:30 am the sun slowly came out and we noticed all the flowers in the meadow. Seth enjoyed the sun and I got a few flower shots.

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Mostly with the encouragement of Seth, we continued on and risked more rain but hoped for little. We hiked a very gentle path to Grassy Pass where we could see Rawah Lake No. 3.

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Grassy Pass had lovely views not only of the lake but also of the surrounding hills.

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After a few stream crossings, which Dempsey tackled very well, we made it to Camp Lake. We set up camp and then retired to the lakeside to watch the somewhat menacing clouds. I also took more flower photos.

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Mac n Cheese (deluxe) with a poblano and sliced garlic brought us back to camp. While we prepped dinner Dempsey gave in to his tiredness.

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The next day we packed out and only saw a little rain in the morning. The fungus was quite good on the hike out.

Yes, this is all fungus (perhaps a slime mold or two?).

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Below is a close up of the tree fungus above.

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Just about the last thing we saw was a large bull moose almost on the trail.  Seth scared it away and we made it back to the car.

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