Monday, August 24, 2009

Colorado: August 22, 2009 4X4 Road to Clear Lake

A photo of the happy couple taken from the road today

Saturday morning we took the 4X4 road to Clear Lake. The road starts about a mile from our camp and with 12 switchbacks gains 2100 feet in 4 miles. It is a beautiful drive with fantastic views, and ends at a pretty lake.

Start of the road to clear lake

The first few switchbacks are in the trees, so no pictures here, except for the Ptarmigan we saw. She blends in to the grass well, doesn't she?

When we broke out of the trees we could see a little of the hillside we are climbing.

The switchbacks we will be taking are in the lower part of the picture, above, behind the trees, not the ones on the upper part. The upper part is an old mining trail and not wide enough for a car or truck

These are the switchbacks we will be driving.

Looking back down the switchbacks to valley below

Looking down into the valley, where we started.

Above the switchbacks, road to Clear Lake. The lake is in front of the peaks in the background.

Along the road we saw this cute Marmot

And a Pika

Pika’s typically live at altitudes above 10,000 feet in cold rocky areas like you saw in the pictures. They don’t hibernate in the winter so during the short summer they must harvest lots of grass & seeds and store them in their den for the long winter.

The road ends at Clear Lake surrounded on three sides by sharp ridges.

About half way up the talus slope in this picture, is a ledge with an old mine entrance

I just had to see what was there. I told Sharon it shouldn’t take more than about 30 minutes to hike up and back the 300 yards with an elevation gain of probably 100 feet. Oops! I forgot I was starting the short hike at 11,900’ and ending about 12,000’. It took about 45-50 minutes. I did a lot huffing and puffing and stopping to catch my breath on the way up.

Looking back to the parking area from mine entrance

Approaching mine entrance

Entrance, closed by a dust covered snow bank. There also is a wire mesh screen blocking the entrance too. Not that I would venture inside. At least not more than 10-20 feet if I could, or not! Just don't tell Sharon.

Looking inside the mine. To take this picture I stuck my hand with the camera through a small hole in the entrance.

Some pretty flowers I saw on the way up to the mine

On the drive down from Clear Lake we saw this beautiful rock strata on the wall across the valley.

That’s all for now.

Until later,

Al & Sharon


MountainMK said...

Very informative. Great pictures!

MountainMK said...

Very informative. Great pictures!