Medicine Bow Mountains, CO: 6/17 – 6/22/20

It was time to boon dock again. We left Fort Collins and drove west on 14 along the Cache la Poudre River. We found a perfect spot just off Laramie River Road, with a stream behind us.

When we left around 2 p.m. for a short hike, there were two moose, a cow and her calf, walking down the road. I grabbed my phone and was able to catch one of them before they retreated down to the river. It looks like we have some neighbors.

There are several trailheads off Laramie River Road, which is why Scott chose this location. We drove a few miles to the trailhead for Trail 177. We hiked 4.35 miles round trip to three lakes: Lost, Laramie and Twin.

There is a wide, gravel road to begin this hike.
#1 – Lost Lake
#2 – Laramie Lake

At times, the trails was difficult to follow, but I followed my guy through the soft, muddy grasses.

#3 – Twin Lakes
Beaver Dam on Twin Lakes

Our next hike would be our LONGEST EVER together. We hiked 14.29 miles round trip on West Branch Trail, which follows its fork of the Laramie River up into the Rawah Wilderness ending at Island and Carey Lakes. It took us almost nine hours through snow and overflowing trails as a result of snow runoff. Total elevation gain was 2,635 feet.

Here we go.
Crossing over the Laramie River to continue the hike.

There were sections of the trail that were flowing with water from snow melt. We had to hop on rocks and walk on logs to cross over. I slipped and one foot went entirely into the cold water.

The trail quickly went from this…
…to this

There was mostly snow on the trails for the next TWO miles to the lake.

Are you coming darling?
Are we there yet?
Island Lake wasn’t the only thing frozen. Time to add layers.
This is what summer can look like in Colorado!
The reason they call it “Island” Lake.
Beautiful shot, Scott!
A view of Carey Lake.

With wet, cold feet, we tackled our way back through the snow. It was a pleasure to finally get back on a dirt trail. Only FIVE more miles to get back to the truck. We were two tired puppies at the end of this hike. We both slept like babies that night.

The following day, we felt refreshed but decided to take a shorter hike. We drove to Cameron Pass and bought a day pass to Colorado State Park for $9. You can buy an annual pass for $80 and get into all of the state parks, but we didn’t think we’d actually get to many more state parks.

It was already after three when we started this short hike. While it is only 0.8 miles to reach Agnes Lake, it is all switchbacks going up. Once you reach the lake, there are accessible, partly-snowy trails to walk around half of the lake.

Looking down at the lake.
Zoom in dead center to see our furry friend on the rock.
Scott told me to walk across the log onto the ice so he could take my picture. Right.

On our last day boon docking in this area, we took an 11-mile bike ride on Laramie Ditch Road. The ten-foot wide gravel road gradually rose in elevation. On one side was a huge drop off to the meadow below. On the other side was a man-made ditch that connected runoff from the mountains to the Cache La Poudre River. This was part of an expansion project near the start of West Branch Trail. We passed and stopped to admire several waterfalls that were feeding into this newly created ditch.

It wasn’t long before we reached the end of the road.

Time to turn around. It started raining on our way back down, but the rain soon subsided. It is very normal this time of year to have rain/thunderstorms in the afternoon. Tomorrow, we will say goodbye to our peaceful solitude and return to civilization – complete with WIFI and a cell signal. Off to Breckenridge!

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