Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Devils Thumb - King Lake

The forecast was for 50%-60% chance of thunderstorms up high last weekend, so I planned to limit time on peaks and ridgelines. Around bedtime on Saturday I made the call for Hessie TH near Eldora, which has some terrain below treeline in case the weather turned ugly.

My neighborhood was socked in with clouds, but when I got to Eldora the sun was shining. I must have been above it all.

I've been happy with the rain lately, since it means my home state won't burn to the ground. Creeks were slammed with runoff:

Typical Indian Peaks trail rubble. Lift those toes.

Looking back down valley from near Devils Thumb Pass:

One of my favorite parts of this run, with about 50 feet of 45 degrees then rock chutes. Don't trip, if you start tumbling you're in trouble. I walk this:

My lunch foxhole, overlooking the Fraser Valley:

Two miles (?) of tundra running:

King Lake. I had seen this on cloudy days, but it was totally distracting on a sunny day with billowing white clouds, and this was the point I started really slowing down and taking photos about every 20 yards. I simply could not concentrate on the running, nor did I care. Spectacular:

I had all day, so I made a trip up to Betty and Bob Lakes. Here's Betty:

Here's Bob, with fresh ski tracks down the snow field:

I caught up to the skiers/riders, some college kids. I think I recognized the girl, maybe from a shop in Boulder. They told me they had parked at Rollins Pass and hiked over, and were hiking back up to the pass. Awesome. I'm really tempted myself.

FYI, King Lake area has some of the best wildflowers right along the trail of anywhere I've been in the Indian Peaks. There was so much Indian Paintbrush it was mind-blowing, and it was white, orange, scarlet, red, crimson, pink and magenta. I probably spent about 15 minutes at the beginning of the Betty/Bob trail mumbling and taking pictures. Paintbrush does not seem to appear in huge quantities like other flowers, so 1000 square feet is a plethora.

This left about 6 miles to the car. As I descended into the forest, I also returned to the zone where clouds floated through the forest, and mist and rain followed my run. I don't know about others, but I think running through a forest in mist and rain is amazing. It's like snow; it totally changes the feel of the woods.

I also took the Lost Lake trail, which I had never visited. As I did, the rain began to fall in earnest, and I was glad I had my shell. Totally comfortable and worked perfectly for easy running. Super light.

The home stretch:

This 20-miler took me almost all day, but the stops to enjoy the views and take the pics were worth it. That's how I like it.


  1. Now that is some sweet scenery... Oh wait, you always run sweet trails ;-) Very nice perspective as we have spent time on the other side, but not ever gone over from the Eldora/Rollins side. Probably need to check that out. And yes, glad for rain....

  2. Nice, the High Lonesome loop is classic. And yes, the flowers near Kings Lake are always epic - great pics!

  3. Nice. Scott and I were up there yesterday. We lucked out on weather and crowds. The former was perfect and the latter almost non-existent until we got back within a mile or two of the trailhead. What route did you do to hit 20 miles? Ours was only about 15.5. I added 2-3 miles on the Divide after I dropped my "wallet" (a plastic bag with a credit card, license, house key and cash). Amazingly I ran into a guy (only the second we'd seen all day) who picked it up and gave it back to me. Anyway, looks like you had an amazing time. Great loop.

  4. Jay - I did the loop up Devils Thumb then down King Lake, but added on Betty and Bob lakes and Lost Lake.

    Very cool about your stuff.