"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Boss Lake Hike, Wildflowers & Cottonwood Lake

Salida, Colorado

Boss Lake at just under 12,000 ft in elevation was a trail we were looking forward to.  Steve brought his fishing pole so that he might be able to catch some of those Greenback Cutthroat Trout we've heard about.

First we had to hike a mile up a steep dirt road just to get to the trailhead.  We're still getting used to the elevation and we were huffing and puffing just to get to the beginning of the trail.  Whew!
The day was sunny, warm and beautiful.

Once again, we didn't take in to consideration the snow levels!  Hurley loves it though.

This is a huge mining area and there were remnants of old mining digs and camps all over.  We were wondering why these carefully built walls were scattered around part of the area.  Nothing else here but old rusted out bolts, panels and parts.

Finally at the trailhead.

Lots of signage.

Boss Lake is where we are headed.

The snow is pretty deep right off the bat and Steve wasn't too sure about continuing after our other attempt at another trail.  But I coaxed him on.  What an adventure it could be.  Let's just do a little at a time and we'll turn back if we need to.  Right?

Many stream crossings again.

The snow was usually 3 to 5 feet deep in most places.

Happy so far.

Without the yellow trail markers on the trees, it would be impossible to know where the trail is.

Pretty hard to hike up these deep, steep banks.  It was easier for me to gingerly step in previous hikers holes/tracks than it was for Steve.

Hurley getting ready to catch a snowball.


I liked the interesting diamond pattern on this tree.

The trees were thinner in spots which let more sun through.  Much easier to hike.

Bald Mountain in the background.

We passed tiny Hunt Lake on the way.

Almost at the top!

Yeah, as soon as we get to the top of the dam, we'll take a nice break.

Still very frozen over, but gorgeous!

The old pumphouse at the top of the dam.

Looking back down the valley from the dam.

A bridge over the spillway where you could continue on the trail.  Too much snow to go on.  I'm glad we made it to the lake, our hoped for destination.

This was about the only spot with enough melt to fish.  Nothing biting.

Is this the most gorgeous view, or what?

The river before it hits the spillway.

This was kind of funny.  Apparently Hurley doesn't understand what a frozen lake is.  He just thought he was going to jump on to the "snow bank" across from a stream.  Boy was he surprised when he took a chunk off on his landing and went for a very cold swim!

That's a close up of his landing.  Luckily it was quite warm at the top and he dried off on the warm rocks quickly.

Time to head back down.  At 50 lbs, Hurley has almost no problem with the deep snow.

Steve on the otherhand...

Me sinking up to my knees in places.

If you asked Steve how deep the snow was, he would say "balls deep"!

Hmm, maybe it was his choice of hiking apparel?

Even my boots were soaked and cold.  Some cuts and scrapes from sliding and scraping fallen logs under the snow.

Back down the final mile on the road.  Much warmer.

The next day was also warm and sunny so we hit the dirt roads again in search of the wildflowers that were supposed to be almost peak in this area.

Found 'em! 

I don't know what these white flowers are called.  I've never seen them before but they grew in thick bunches and were everywhere!
We went back in to the town of Salida to check out Woods Distillery.  There are some pretty neat sculptures around town.
Darn gas station signs, telephone wires and poles.

The distillery tanks at Woods.

Steve had a little sampler.

We also had a nice antipasti plate.  An Old Fashioned for Steve...

and this MEAL of a Bloody Mary for me!

On the way out, Steve saw this grill guard he's like to get for the truck.  Pretty nice.
We went back up the spiral road to the top of Tenderfoot Mountain where we hid a geocache to enjoy the night view for a bit before returning to camp and enjoying a nice fire.
Aw, Hurley is so cute!

This guy has some property next to his home that he'll let you camp on for free.  Great view!

And yet another great sunny day without those pesky late thunderstorms!  So off we went to do some kayaking and fishing on Cottonwood Lake.

Steve caught a small rainbow and Hurley really wanted it!

This is a beautiful lake surrounded by the Chalk Cliffs.

Fish two for Steve.  I love this picture.

And that makes three!  I got skunked.
 Good Night and Good Bye Salida.  It's been great and this area is one we would come back to.  There is so much to do here.  Tomorrow we move north.


  1. Some awesome scenery up in the mountains! Looks like some great kayaking and fishing lakes as well. Poor Hurley, I bet he was shocked when he hit that cold water!

    1. Oh Hurley flew out of there so fast! He did have a WTH look on his face. This is a beautiful area. You'd love it. The Arkansas River flows all along here with Gold Medal fishing!

  2. "What an adventure it could be. Let's just do a little at a time and we'll turn back if we need to."...I've been on the other end of that speech...you are very hard to say no to. It looked absolutely beautiful though.

  3. What a beautiful place. I have added it to our "to do" list. Your photos are beautiful. Poor Hurley...he probably learned a lot from that adventure.

    1. Hike, bike, kayak, fish, float-so much to do for any level. Nice restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries too.

  4. Great shots of Hurley catching the snowball! The wildflowers are beautiful. We loved that area too but missed the little lakes - the water pics of Cottonwood are incredible! Love Hurley at the campfire :-)))

    1. We came back by a second time this trip (just left) and would come back again. So much to do!


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