Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cathedral Lake

This morning Dad and I took Roxy (so Mom could have the Jeep to go into Aspen if she wanted to!) and drove out Castle Creek Road to hike to Cathedral Lake. We were considering going on to Electric Pass but decided we'd decide when we got to the trail junction.

We drove 12 miles out Castle Creek Road and then we had to turn onto a dirt road for .6 of a mile to get to the trailhead parking. I've driven on dirt roads before, but this one was rough. Big rocks (not huge, just bigger than I wanted to drive my RV over), dips and holes. Roxy didn't seem to have any trouble with it, but I didn't enjoy it too much. We kinda got the last spot at the trailhead, but then we moved so we wee backed in, poised to pull right out when we got back so we wouldn't get parked in and there was room for two more cars to park.

The trail to the lake was only 2.5 miles, but it gained 2000 ft of elevation. Going from almost 10,000 ft to almost 12,000! So it was up the whole way! The views just got better and better, as the trail got steeper and steeper! I don't think I've ever walked a trail this steep that wasn't a rock scramble! There was one point where I was walking across a scree field in the saddle and I looked up could see the switchbacks cut into the mountain ahead of me. It went straight up!


We made it to the lake a little after noon, after a bit of stress because of the multiple trails in the area and neither Dad nor I following each other, we found each other and had lunch. I took my shoes off and waded in the lake but it was really cold! It felt free at first but it was crazy cold!

After lunch we decided to head down rather than try for Electric Pass. To get to the pass was another 2.2 miles and another 1600 feet of elevation gain. We decided that the had been fabulous and the lake was enough!

The hike down was tough because it was so steep and just continually down. But, we made it back to the van, despite the assault from the biting flies! Then it was back over the rough dirt road, longest .6 of a mile I've ever driven.

When we got back to Aspen we went to the post office to pick up Mom and Dad's mail then we discovered Clark's Market - I'd parked in their parking out because it was big enough for me - it was a much nicer store than the City Market in town, and they had gelato! Dad and I checked out the whole store and picked up a few things we saw that looked interesting, then it was back to the campground.

When we left this morning I took everything, didn't leave a chair or anything because my name and reservation dates were on the post. Well, apparently they get a lot of folks who leave a day early without telling anyone, so since my site was vacant the campground host assumed I was gone and gave my site to someone else. Luckily they allow "overflow camping" in the day use parking lot so I was able to move over there, but only because I was in a self contained hard sided RV - tent campers can't go over there because there's no food storage for the bears.

This might actually be a good thing... First of all, the day use parking lot I think will get the sun a lot earlier than my camp site and therefore it should get warm earlier tomorrow morning. 2nd, the parking lot is level. 3rd, the people in the campsite next to me gags at least 3 noisy kids, the parking lot will be quieter! And, the folks who are on my site are tent camping, they might not have been able to get a spot if they hadn't taken mine and I'm fine in the parking lot!


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