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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Blue Lakes Pass or Bust

Busted. Monsoon season feels different this year. Normally, we have clear skies in the mornings and clouds build shortly after noon, with thunderstorms erupting by 2 PM. Most of those storms pass quickly; you can wait them out under a rock and then continue hiking. But this year things have changed, the "weather" is getting an early start. Take a couple days ago...
We got up early in order to hike to Blue Lakes Pass; it's above the wild flower heaven of Yankee Boy Basin. But less than a mile from the pass, at 10:34 AM, mind you, long rolls of thunder rumbled our innards. By 10:45 AM lightning was flashing overhead. We have been turned back so many times this year, either by snow or weather… three times from Blue Lakes Pass alone. It's frustrating. 

But if one wants to live to hike another day, they need to dutifully turn around and call it "good enough" (sigh).

Maybe it will pass… 

Wild Flowers are off to a good start… still a week or so from peak

The last Iceburg of winter in Wright's Lake

On our way to Blue Lakes Pass we came upon a Photo-shoot for Adidas shoes and outdoor apparel. The "models" would run up and down the trail while several photographers clicked away. As we were hustling down, running from the lightening, they were still going up into the storm. I mentioned that they might want to reconsider and get the hell down. It took a while, but they finally turned around. 

This gal kept shooting our picture as we hiked along. I doubt we make the catalog tho as we we had not a shred of  Adidas gear or shoes.

Still, as we continued down, other people were headed up… Lightening, thunder, spitting rain… Threatening. It never ceases to amaze me, people in shorts and t-shirts, no water, no rain gear, heading into the ozone for a family hike totally unprepared. Already this year several hikers have been struck by lightening in Colorado alone. Florida is the worst state for lightening fatalities, but Colorado is not far behind.  


  1. Glad you turned around too! Don't want anyone struck by lightning!! Who would make magnificent post cards for us?! Yah ya...so very selfish of me. That of course isn't the only reason I don't want anyone struck by lightning!

  2. We were surprised to see several groups starting up the Crag Crest trail the other day in the rain and thunder as we were hurriedly trying to get back to the car. Crazy!
    You ARE going to make those thunderstoms stop when we get to Ouray, aren't you?

  3. Some time ago I read an article by a man who had been transiting the mountains in Colorado. The lightning was a huge issue for him and his hiking buddy. They would have to separate, go lie on the ground and not be the highest point on the mountain. It sounded terrifying. It's amazing what people will do without equipment and protection.

  4. ...not to mention the possibility of getting caught in a hail shower. It has happened to me and so I am extra wary of the warning signs of weather. Beautiful photos, Mark

  5. I'm always learning something from you. I expected Colorado to be near the top of the list for lightening strikes with high, exposed ridges. For the same reason, I wouldn't have had Florida anywhere on my list. Wow. Looking forward to getting back to cooler Colorado next week.

  6. Having now spent a couple of months in CO and SD and witnessed first hand the multitude of lightning strikes these states experience I don't understand these people at all! Better to be safe than sorry...

    Those sure are some gorgeous flower shots! I'm hoping the Bighorn range is going to be full of them...will find out in the next few days!

  7. I figure if I have my hiking pole in my right hand and the unbrela in my left hand, I'm grounded.

  8. The wildflowers alone would have made this trip memorable. What a beauty up there.

  9. That last picture says it all. No cover or any place to hide when it's too late. Florida or not, some of the fiercest thunderstorms we've ever encountered have been in the San Juans during summer. It's bad enough riding storms out up there in a jeep. Shorts and a tank top. Yikes!

  10. It has been hard this year to get some good hiking trips in. I also haven't been able to kayak at all; a little rain doesn't stop me but the accompanying wind and lightening is another story. Don't want to get caught on the water when a typical Colorado storm is moving in FAST.

    Great pics.


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