Jul 21, 2013 at 8:02 pm #1305657
After returning home from my 10 day vacation to the Quetico Provincial Park in Canada, I finally got the chance to go on a short solo backpacking trip in the Holy Cross Wilderness. It was my first backpacking trip in the high alpine this summer and it was already the first few days of July. My my my, how time flies.
The trek up to Lake Charles and Mystic Island lake had been one I've had my eye on for a while. After work I drove a short bit to the trailhead located within the boundaries of Sylvan Lake State Park.
Fools Peak (12,947 feet) is visible from the early miles of the trail.
The path I follow parallels East Brush Creek on the Lake Charles Trail. Dark clouds circle me and I try to scout a flat section of creek for a peaceful evening of fishing next to my camp. I pass a man panning for gold on the stream. He pays no attention to nothing but water and dirt; I sneak by him without him noticing I'm there. A family of 3 backpackers head downstream as I head up.
I pitch my Tarptent just before the quick cloud of rain dumps while sitting right inside the Wilderness boundary. After doing some somewhat unsuccessful fishing on the shallow creek I decide to get ready for sleep. While flossing my teeth I spit out my crown which broke into 3 separate pieces. A little disturbed at first, I waited to see how serious this was going to be, then decided to move forward with my 3 day trip. The stars this night were bright.
Thick trees and some steep climbs via trail eventually gives arrival to what I came here for.
How old I wonder.
Lake Charles. Eagle Peak (13,043 feet) stands directly in front and Fools Peak is to the right.
Many people stop hiking at this point but this valley continues on and the scene becomes more dramatic.
The snow hasn't been gone from here for that long and the trail resembles a swamp in small doses.
Looking at a topographic map of Fools Peak does not do it much justice.
Watching the moon disappear behind the high peaks.
Mystic Island Lake.
I scouted out my camp for what felt like hours… a good excuse to see what there is to see. The afternoon wind never did seem to die down which made for some difficult fishing on the large alpine lake.
This however would not have involved much sport.
A group of 4 day hikers made it to the lake while I relaxed on the opposite shore; the only people I saw all day, but no words exchanged. Several rain showers came and went.
The follow morning I made my way out the valley. I had realized on my way down that my map had the trail switching sides of the stream in a stretch of section. This was something that I had not given much attention to on my way up. I decided to cross the creek to the other side, while the obvious "established" trail continued on without me.
What I found was the original abandoned trail which lent a change of scenery than a few days before. There was old dead fall removal, busted bridges and pipes for moving water. I become intrigued as to what the reasons for this may have been. It feels good to be back.Jul 22, 2013 at 6:55 am #2008318
Ben WortmanBPL Member
Great report and pictures Tim. What was the mosquito situation like up there? Were you fly fishing or spinner fishing?
Keep the trip reports coming!
BenJul 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm #2008484
Mosquitos weren't too terrible in that spot, but they have seemed to be pretty bad in other areas recently. I'd definitely recommend bringing some sort of bug protection when you come in August. The deer flies have been out quite a bit too.
Recently I've been bringing my Daiwa pack rod. Not a fly fisher… yet. Its hard enough to balance the hobbies I already have ;)Jul 22, 2013 at 4:58 pm #2008497
Ben WortmanBPL Member
Your probably right on the bug protection. I will be taking a tenkara setup I got used on the forum this year. It seems like it will be the ticket. I even caught a real fish with it when I was out practicing this weekend.Jul 22, 2013 at 7:09 pm #2008543
Nice! After catching all those smallmouth in Canada, I nearly yelled at the trout to give me a better fight! I'm looking forward to hearing how you make out on Slate.
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