Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pear Lake

The Allenspark trailhead is a cheaper alternative to the fee station at Wild Basin and for the route I was taking today it was also more convenient. I was surprised to see 2 cars parked up when I arrived early and I geared up in a cool breeze under brilliant blue skies.

The first section of the Finch Lake trail was familiar ground. I had no dog today, as they are not allowed in RMNP, and I followed the route I took last year when I ended up aborting my attempt of Mount Alice. The section leaving the trailhead is steeper than it looks and I was soon blowing hard. There were some long level sections that enabled me to catch my breath and I arrived at the 4-way trail junction in reasonable time.

I was trying out a pair of Salomon Speedcross 3 shoes that I bought a while back and although a little high they seemed to fit well and I will certainly keep using them. 2 miles of rising trail brought me to Finch Lake and some large snow patches. Fortunately the trail found its way around them and I ended up at the river outlet bridge in good time. The melt water was raging and as I crossed the footbridge I quickly gained elevation and the noise of the water disappeared.
Chiefs Head, Longs and Meeker Peaks across Wild Basin from Finch Lake trail

The trail had a lot of melting snow water running along and across the path and it was heavy going in places. Climbing up through the wooded hillside on the north bank of the Pear Creek the trail began to dry out and it was warm in the early morning sunshine. There is not a lot to see on this trail because the woodland is so dense - earlier I caught sight of Longs and Meeker Peak and Mount Alice, but this is a claustrophobic trail and there was a lot of lively wildlife.

Approaching 10,500' there was only a quarter mile to Pear Lake and when I crested the last steep climb I ran into some very deep snow drifts with no way around. Thankfully the surface was icy and I was able to skate across the surface without postholing through. I reached the shore of Pear Lake shortly afterwards.
Finch Lake in the early morning sun

There is no such thing as an ugly mountain lake and Pear Lake wasn't going to contradict that statement. I took a 20 minute breather atop a large granite boulder that was warmed by the sun and enjoyed the solitude. No walker, no campers, nothing to disturb the silence except the breeze in the trees and the sound of a distant waterfall supplying the lake inlet.
The exquisite Pear Lake from the outlet stream

I had caught sight of a beaver just before the lake and I could see evidence of its handiwork at the outlet, where a small timber dam was taking shape. Apparently there is fishing at the lake but I wasn't able to see any fish in the crystal clear water. I stretched out a little and jogged the 6 miles back to the trailhead. I met 5 groups of hikers following my tracks to a beautiful mountain lake.

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