Monday, September 9, 2013
Lake Solitude/Twin Lakes Loop, Big Cottowood Canyon- September 2013
I have done this loop once in the past, back in 2003. It was a great hike, and the climb to complete the loop is a gut buster for sure. I was not sure how the weather was going to hold up, thunderstorms from this late monsoon flow we are getting were in the forecast. I set out from the Silver Lake lot and not far after I walked in I saw a Bull Moose with a full rack. This is the rut, so best to be cautious around them as they can be quite aggressive this time of year. My luck had it that he only took one look at me, and continued to graze on the foliage. I pressed on to the trail split for Twin Lakes and Lake Solitude. It was a very nice walk in the woods, rounding the ridge. Once you pass the Summit lift line you connect with another beautiful walk in the woods that takes you up to Lake Solitude. I made a brief stop at the lake, to take some pics and to check out the area. Saw a mine shaft that I was not aware of up there. I then began the climb that is the steepest part of this hike. I have been climbing mountains all season, and with a day pack, this was a lot easier than a full weekend bag. I did break a pretty good sweat on the way up, so I am sure I got my caloric burn for the day. I finally, after winding my way to the top stepped onto the pass between Solitude and Twin Lakes. I took an animal track down the steepest section and eventually connected with the shore line trail below. Did I mention how low this lake was this year? Since they have dammed the lake, it was always one solid body of water every time I have visited. Not this year, I was able to walk out on the land bridge to do some fly fishing. After a walk around the SW end of the lake, I found myself fishing the land bridge between both lakes. Not long after I threw on a new fly, I watched the most beautiful Cutthroat come out from the deep and nail my fly! This guy was huge! Once I hauled him in, I set him next to my rod, and he passed the 16" mark, so I marked his length on my rod. I stepped over to grab my camera for a picture, when he snapped my tippet and flopped back into the lake. I was so bummed, I for sure wanted to get a pic of that fish! The memory of that will linger for a while for sure. I was so stoked that I had finally, after years of visiting this lake, that I was able to land one of those big ones in there that I have seen so many times, but was never able to get no matter what I threw at them. After some more fishing, I packed it up and headed down to finish the loop. It was a nice hike out, with the meadows still holding some flowers, and other plants switching it into fall gear. The colors up there were amazing, and it will only get better. I finished up the hike to my car, when right as I got the door unlocked, the thunderstorm moved in. Talk about perfect timing! It was a great day up there, full of adventure just like I like it. Fall is upon us. Things will start to change in the coming weeks. This is a great time of year as the season transfer from summer to fall. I think we will have a colorful year! Enjoy the slideshow, more adventures to come.