Roughly 15 miles out and back through a valley appropriately named “Oh Be Joyful” lead us to questionably one of the most breathtaking alpine lakes. A single track, well-defined trail winds through fields of free range cattle, willow brush, and decomposing skunk cabbage. The valley is wide but eventually feels dome-like as you near the lake. Mountains seem to kiss the sky, a sky that felt far away but within reach, all at once. The dry summer and arrival of fall left a layer of lingering, seasonal scent. Dried foliage crunched beneath our feet, while the rhythm of our legs gave our denim pants a beat all of their own. The sun had no obstacles, a clear sky, a cloudless canvas, a bluebird day as they say around here. The trail seemed endless and at one point left us both wondering if we somehow missed the lake. We were too close to turn back. We saw a shelf high above tucked within the surrounding, sky-scraping mountains, and intuition told us it must be there. Thank goodness we stayed the course because what we were gifted as we footed up the embankment was truly humbling.
Although the name suggests or implies blue waters, it was more of a luminous, turquoise green. The suns rays danced on the surface of the lake, sparkling and radiating like precious gemstones. So clear and clean, you could see the flat rocked bottom, and floating trout who seemed fascinated by us visitors. It felt like a fantasy and looked like a dream. It looked like the tropics but felt like Colorado. No lake venture would be complete without a bathing in the holy, crystal clear waters or at least that’s the ultimatum I gave myself this very summer, but as the tale would go on to tell, I defaulted back to the safety of warmth, wrestling inside myself between regret and logic. We had a 7.5 mile hike back in the setting sun and the thought of a wet head in the cool evening plagued me. In hindsight it was plenty warm. Since Alex doesn’t suffer with the same over thinking I do and these crisp, cold waters run through his veins, he and Styx let the water wash over them. Rejuvenating, refreshing, awakening, and purifying is what it looked like. Something I long to step into but not for a while as the first snow is already falling.
Have you experienced an unforgettable alpine lake? Did you get in? Share with me below!
Thank you all for joining me here and until next time,