Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Although not a "14'er", and not in the top 100 peaks in the state of Colorado, at 13,172 ft Mount Conejos is higher than any mountain in Montana or New Mexico. It's a relatively easy climb since forest road 105 can take you to within an hours hike of Tabacco Lake, and it's only another hour to the Conejos peak from the lake. Well, it was an hour for me on that day...but could easily be 2 hours for some hikers due to the altitude and steepness of the peak's slope. By this time, I had been in Colorado for over a month and was acclimated to the altitude.
Tobacco Lake is a moderate hike from the trailhead. For the third time, I was not able to catch a fish in Tobacco Lake even though I could see the nice, big, fat cutthroat trolling the shoreline. One of these days I'll figure it out. I got some light strikes on a wooly bugger, nymphs, and an emerger - but no takes and I still wonder how those fish get so big and fat feeding on the small black knats they appear to prefer over anything else. Perhaps next year.
Since I wasn't catching any fish, I figured the day wouldn't be a total loss if I climbed Conejos Peak, which I did not do last year because of my knee injury. It was a great hike, with minimal snow crossings due to it being mid-July. It was the first time ever I was on Conejos Peak and the wind wasn't blowing. Completely calm and beautiful on the peak.
The jelly-jar that was put on the peak years ago with a note inside is now almost completely full of notes and various writings. I was going to leave a root-beer barrel in the jar, but decided a critter might sniff it out and break the jar or roll it down the mountain, so I just ate it instead.
On the way down, I stopped at Tobacco Lake to try fishing again, and then the afternoon storm blew up, it began to rain, the temperature drops very quickly, and I froze my ass off before I got back to the truck. Overall however it was a great day and a beautiful hike. There is something very spiritual about Conejos Peak.
Tobacco Lake with Conejos Peak in the background:
Gaining on her...the peak is upper right.
Ahhhhhh, the Mt. Conejos peak!
View from the peak.
Much easier on the way down!
The ultimate skid mark: