With our San Juans still covered in quite a bit of snow up high, earlier this week we drove east for 3 nights of backpacking in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where the snow is mostly gone and summer backpacking season is well underway.
Mt. Lindsey & Lily Lake
We camped the first night up near treeline below Mt. Lindsey, a fourteener I have not yet climbed. Feeling motivated, I set my alarm for 3:00am in order to hike up to the 13,400 foot summit of the “Iron Nipple” (seriously) for sunrise. This rugged peak offered a great vantage point to watch the sunrise light on Blanca Peak, the monarch of this mountain range.
After our sunrise on the Iron Nipple, we climbed up neighboring Mt. Lindsey, which involved a somewhat spicy scramble to the summit. Nice to tick another 14er off the list (my 25th so far, out of 54 in Colorado).
After our climb of Mt. Lindsey (and a nap) we packed up our stuff and headed further up the Huerfano Valley. Towards the head of the valley there’s rusted evidence of a sizable mining operation from days gone by, but nature has long since taken over again and the valley is now an idyllic slice of paradise. We camped our second night up near treeline below Lily Lake, with the massive north wall of Blanca and Ellingwood towering overhead.
For our third night out, we descended back to the idyllic meadows of the upper Huerfano basin where we camped near some springs and creek pools.