Derek and I made the truly brilliant decision to head to Baker Pass. We had a few other options on the table and we’re so thankful we made this choice. Over the 6+ hours, we only got 15 miles in, so it was pretty dang slow by our standards but there was nothing for it. The flowers were the best I have ever seen them in northern Colorado… far thicker than anywhere I’ve stumbled upon within the park boundary. We stopped countless times for photos and to simply soak in the surroundings. There was one mile that took us 46 minutes, and one that was a few seconds shy of a full hour, if that tells you anything. The landscape simply demanded our attention.
The trail climbs from the Bowen/Baker Trailhead near Grand Lake within the borders of RMNP. After seven tenths of a mile you enter the Never Summer Wilderness and start the climb towards Parika Lake. Maybe 3/4 of a mile or so from the lake we took a right into Baker Gulch proper and toward Baker Pass. Our pace slowed instantly as we never put our cameras away. The faint trail took us through marshes, over streams, through meadows, and deeper and higher into Baker Gulch.
We wondered, in awe, as we neared the pass. Our pace slowing to that of a tortoise wearing a weight vest trying to cross a river of maple syrup on a super cold day. We finally made it to the pass and then to the ridge to the west of the gulch to reach Parika Lake. This ridge was awesome! A little 4th class scramble, beautiful views, and thunder! We made it to the lake amid a crackling sky, took a few photos, and began our descent as the sky opened up and we ran down the trail to the echoes of thunder crashing down the valley.
Trying to describe the scenes wont do them justice and will actually be counter productive to rightfully explain what we witnessed. So I’ll just share a few photos from the day and maybe I’ll get a small fraction of the way there. Let’s call it 3/100ths if you have a good imagination.
Sorry for this quick and dirty entry, but we leave for a little vacay in the morn so I need to get some zzzz’s…
Oh, and we saw two baby moose! They ran with us for a few minutes. We also ate some bluebells and walked on some salad.