This time we decided to just wing it and ended up at Mirror Lake. We like to go at the beginning of the season both beginning and end since the cold makes for less people at the sites. The problem with that is it's crazy cold at 11,000 feet high. Almost to tree line. We woke to frost covering everything each morning yet our faces got sunburned. (something I never had an issue with in 22 years of camping) and we toughed it out in a tent.
Now here is where I got a little stupid. Most maps will tell you if its a 4wd road or a high clearance 4wd road. This one did not. We were the only ones on that road that wasn't on an ATV. It was roughly 10 miles and I couldn't go faster than 5 mph. I had to evaluate each boulder to decide which one was better to roll my tires over yet I bottomed out 7 times making me get out and check that no fluids were punctured an leaking. I have never seen a road like that before and most of it was single lane. Second mistake... after making it half way through the highway of hell It dawned on us that we left with a full tank of gas and never stopped to get more. We were down to 1/4 tank of gas not knowing how far the next gas station was but we did know it was too late to turn around. We had to use low 4wd which i knew was using more gas than usual. I really thought a hitch hike was in our future. Big Red didn't let us down. (Yeah I named it. I think it's required that guys name their toys :p ) It's the best running truck I've owned with 2,000,000 miles on it other than having no heat.
This was the nice part of the road. The rest was too bumpy and scary for pictures
I don't know what this little creature was but he was cool and not scared.
(The top of the continental divide above)
The Moose swimming below was the first thing we seen as we pulled into mirror lake. I didn't know they could swim and I couldn't help myself laughing at Diana's reaction as it got real close knowing I had a 7,000 pound vehicle and a 30-30 rifle if he did decide to come after us. I have run into Moose before and as long as you leave them alone they left me alone. I should have messed with her and fake freaked out like it was going to come after us. Plus I knew they could run 30 mph but I didn't tell Diana that. It was too fun too see her freak out
Another major problem that plagued us was our campfire. No matter how hard we tried the bastard would not stay lit. We brought wood from home and found some off the side of the roads. The only thing that would burn was small twig branches off the trees that we chopped down with a small hand axe. This led to up having to constantly feed the fire non stop. We had multiple fire starting options in my hiking pack including duraflame logs that just gave me the middle finger. It was so cold I had to keep my lighter against my skin or it wouldn't even light. Even paper towels wouldn't stay lit! Now it was very moist up there but after the first burn to dry out the pit it still didn't make a difference. I have never had so much trouble with fire while shaking like a paint shaker in my life. This happened every day.
We tried our luck at fishing but the bottom of the lake was so rocky we just lost every pole set up. Diana had a smart and crafty idea of cutting chunks of our Styrofoam cooler to make a home made bobber. Still no luck. In all my years of fishing in Colorado I have found trout and big horn sheep to be just a myth. People tell me they exists but I never find them.
Having the luck of being a guy as you know we can pee anywhere. Anywhere but here in the dark. I walked some down the hill so Diana couldn't hear me. Being so rocky and steep, I ended up falling and rolling to the bottom of the hill Chris Farley style with my pants half way down. Luckily I didn't hit any trees but I hit every big rock on the way down. That was a good night :p
A waterfall coming down off the mountain. We have no idea where that water is coming from with no snow up there. Diana wouldn't go find out for me :p
To make matters worse for some reason my eyes puffed up the entire time like Will Smith in the movie Hitch. My only guess is I have developed a sensitivity to altitude. That's the second time in a row I went to the mountains and got sick. It really sucks because the mountains have always been my favorite place be ever since I got my drivers licence.
We moved down in elevation to the Collegiate Peaks and miraculously all the wood we brought burned just fine. What a relief that was. The rest of the pictures are from our second campsite and randomness along the way.