With our acclimation more or least complete, Erin and I looked for our first trail to conquer. In this 21st century world, one of the first places I go for information is the internet - it's a great tool to check conditions and reports from other hikers. One of my favorite sites is AllTrails.com. There you can find detailed information on thousands of trails, complete with updated user trail conditions and pictures. It also has a great downloadable app that helps you find trails close to you. That said, nothing beats asking the locals. Be honest with them about your fitness level, your experience and what gear you have available - they can put you on to some great trails that you may not find on your own! Conversations had and research done, we packed up our gear and headed to Booth Lake Trail, a moderate to difficult out and back trail in East Vail.
The trail follows a raging river of white water complete with several waterfalls as it snakes its way into the vastness of the snow covered peaks above. At certain vantage points Erin and I stood in total silence captivated by the sights and sounds, a percussive power radiating through us from the pounding of this near freezing water. For those that have met us, especially me, that is no small feat. We did our best to capture it's essence on film to share with you, but I promise they do not do the experience justice.
At this point, I need to confess - remember how I mentioned talk to the locals? One of the things that nearly every local mentioned was get out early because the weather becomes unpredictable later in the day. Welllllll, Erin and I got kind of a late start, and just to prove the locals right the weather decided throw a nice little thunderstorm our way. We sheepishly hid out under a dense clump of pine trees and waited it out. Thankfully, the rain abated before too long and we continued on our way.
The trail itself provides nearly every type of terrain you could ask for. We started out on narrow hard-packed dirt through dense trees. The initial climb was fairly aggressive and quickly made me wonder if we had spent enough time acclimating, but short time later we found ourselves breaking through the trees into the valley surrounding us with breathtaking panoramic views. We hiked through large batches Aspen trees and across creeks of freezing cold mountain runoff, stopping several times to catch a better view of the falls.
The real adventure started about 9,500 feet above sea level. The constantly building snow quickly gobbled up what was left of the trail. Determined to reach 10,000 feet Erin and I began trailblazing through knee high drifts. After a great deal of effort and a couple of curse words, we reached a bald head rock at 10,174 feet. Although we never reached the lake, which is situated at 12,000 feet, we consider the day a raging success. If you find yourself in Vail around July or August I am sure this would be a absolutely beautiful hike and much easier to make it to Booth Lake at the top.
So a few recommendations:
The staff of Classroom Worldwide are all adamant travelers and adventures. This blog was designed to share our campfire stories of Races, Cruises, Costa Rican Adventures, and even climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.