Unbelievable backcountry reward for the experienced hikers. This is about as much as I can handle in a day: 6 miles in, with a 30lb pack, hiking 3,000 ft elevation gain that starts at 9,200 ft. If you can make it, wow are you in for some outstanding sights. This place is my Colorado oasis. You can fish, explore the wildflowers, and even say hi to thru hikers of the Continental Divide Trail. When you're done enjoying the photos, definitely check out this site to ensure you can handle the hike. I went as far as downloading the hike's GPS coordinates so I would have them on my wayfinding watch. You can't mess around with backcountry hikes - if you're going solo like me, make sure to tell friends about your plans.
Alright with that said, I had an unreal time. I saw a guy hike in an inflatable boat so he could do some fly fishing at a nearby lake, and when I got to the campsite there was a guy with a frickin llama. This guy was my hero.
- Figure out how to rent a llama
- Use a llama to carry your pack
- Win at life
The trail is a leg burner, so allow yourself plenty of time for breaks and to get to your site before daylight runs out. If you've got hiking poles, bring em. You also would be best served to do this at a time when it hasn't rained recently, because the trail is mostly rock and hard packed sloped earth, and would be a lot more slippery when wet. You're going to be tempted to make camp when you get to Heart Lake, and if there's spots, by all means grab em because that place is equally serene plus saves you "the final push from hell" which is the last 400 ft up to the first Iceberg Lake (where I stayed for a little more privacy). No matter where you camp, at some point definitely get up to the 12,115' Iceberg Lakes overlook. You will not be disappointed. Pics or it didn't happen? CHECK EM OUT!!!
When I went, there was a fire ban, so check ahead. Obviously you're not going to hike in wood because of the added weight, and so if there's no fire ban you'll be tempted to use the wood around you to make a fire. I just ask you respect the area - there's not much wood around and most of it is living, and using that is a big no-no. A good alternative is a portable stove for cooking meals and a heat lamp powered by the same type of stove gas for warmth if you have run out of pack space for layers.
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I get products to test from time to time. For the last two months I've been wearing the OOFOS OOahh Sport Slide Sandals and boy are they comfortable. Watch the video review here. I started wearing them only at times they were mainly advertised and intended: A recovery sandal to wear after exercise (runners love these). I was wearing them after playing hockey, and as my post-hiking footwear. They're fine in showers and are crazy cushiony because of their arch support and foam material. I wear them all the time now, just because I like the amount of impact absorption these puppies can handle, which saves some stress in my knees and back, and that's always good even when you don't have back problems like me. Get the Project Pink edition ones so $10 of your purchase goes towards breast cancer research. After 2 months of solid use logging around 100 miles over every realistic terrain (loose gavel, pavement, indoors, locker room showers, grass, backcountry campsites, etc. etc.) the tread is finally showing signs of wear down. If they get smelly you can machine wash them (still haven't needed to) and the OOfoam has some moisture and bacteria resistant properties to keep the bad smells from sinking in. Get your feet a pair of these people, they're so light and comfortable.