A 4-night trip in Colorado’s Mount Zirkel Wilderness northeast of Steamboat Springs was just the escape I needed after months of doing little except packing, fixing-up, and cleaning the house in Kansas City. 3 friends and I left KC early Sunday (Aug 18) and arrived that evening in Walden CO where we stayed at a motel.
Monday morning we had a hearty breakfast at the River Rock Cafe and headed a short distance west to the Lake Katherine trail head. We spent the first night at Lake Katherine, the second near Gold Creek Lake, and the third and fourth at Bear Lakes – a clockwise loop consisting of parts of the Lone Pine, Wyoming, Gold Creek, Ute Pass, and Bear Creek trails. The weather was kinda warm with highs near 80 and lows in the 40s, a couple hours of rain Thursday afternoon, and brief showers at various other times.
We had some pretty good climbs and views Tuesday & Wednesday as we went up & over the mountains going west and east respectively. Wildlife spotted: some young mountain goats on the shoulder of US-40 as we headed north to Berthold Pass, a beaver swimming away underwater in the smaller of the Bear Lakes, and lots of birds that remain unidentified. Humans spotted: 3 or 4 groups of people at the popular Gold Creek Lake. Others in my party saw people fishing at Lake Katherine and Bear Lakes. The unanimously favorite location was Bear Lakes.