Night Backpacking – Blue Lakes
Several weeks ago, I made the spontaneous decision to go on a night hike and backpacking trip to the Blue Lakes. The Blue Lakes are located at the base of Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. The trail is a 3.5-mile hike with an elevation gain of 1,630 feet. We had just finished work, and were up for a challenge after spending all week in the real estate office.
Equipped with headlamps and peel-apart Twizzlers, we started the 2-hour night hike at dusk. Though the sun was setting, we could still see the purple and red Columbines and waterfalls along the steep winding trail. We could also see clouds beginning to build. I was a little scared as it began to get darker. I was concerned that we might come across a bear so I kept talking and singing to scare away any critters that might have been ahead of us.
At last we arrived at the lower Blue Lake, sweaty and amped from the hike. As we were setting up our tent, I heard something rustling in the bushes. I was terrified and was sure it was a bear! Ian walked over to the moving bushes with his headlamp. Much to my relief, the noise was coming from two frightened porcupines trying to get as far away from us as possible! They were so cute and much more welcome than a black bear.
We calmed our nerves as we sat on a giant log. We watched the clouds clear and open up to a full and starry night sky.
The next morning was one of the most memorable mountain moments of my life. The lake was crystal blue and the jagged Sneffels peak (14,150ft) towered above. The air was crisp and clean, and there were hardly any other campers to disturb the peace.
I highly recommend this hike. The Blue Lakes trailhead is easily accessible from East Dallas road and can be reached without a 4-wheel drive vehicle. The first 1.5 miles of the Blue Lakes trail is the hardest and has the most elevation gain. Be prepared to cross a small creek and get ready to enjoy an abundance of wildflowers. For the ambitious, you can continue on the trail past Lower Blue Lake and head up the mountain to the Upper Blue Lakes, the saddle, and the peak. The Blue Lakes also make a great base camp for climbing Mt. Sneffels.