Montrose, CO a hub for a bunch of amazing mountain towns and hiking trails an 1 hour, or so away. One trail, in particular that a group of us, did recently, was Ice Lake Basin; a long 16 mile stunning hike that gives way to an amazing set of waterfalls and some beautiful lakes.
We began our hike later than most would recommend, driving from Montrose at 6:41 am and reaching the start of the trail at around 8:30 am. My wife Rebecca, who grew up in Texas and only did a few easy hikes before, didn’t understand why we were hiking to a lake that we could not swim in because of the aluminum content in the water. She still does not, and that is her biggest issue about the hike... still. So for any new hikers expecting to hop into the icy mountain waters post hike, be warned the water is as mentioned icy AND due to mineral high count of aluminum, bad for your reproduction system. So tell any and all mermaids before hiking, not half way through hiking.
Getting back on the trail: the hike begun with about 7 miles of switchbacks, that takes a lot of the hiking time because of their steep nature. On the sides of the trail you get to see old mining equipment, waterfalls, and sometimes animals. You’ll need to take several breaks and eat lots of snacks to keep your energy up. To any of those hiking with loved ones, FOOD. BRING AS MUCH AS YOU CAN CARRY. We will have a blog over food choice for hiking later, but for now, food for your loved ones and self- IS A MUST.
There are several look out points along the way to give you breath taking views and a time to rest.
One of the app's that I had used, for tracking how far we had gone, used a unit of measurement that I had never seen before, "How the crow flies" which sucks; because we can't just sprout wings and fly. Being 10 miles out and hearing the app saying 3 miles as the crow flies can annoy your fellow hikers, who are hungry natured people. So make sure you do your research before a hike, and prepare and not just expect "We're going on an adventure, Frodo". Guarantee, Frodo gets hungry and starts sipping A LOT of Sangira. Hiking tip: If you nurse an alcoholic beverage, key word NURSE, we discovered it actually helps with sore muscles as you gain elevation, as well as gives Frodo a distraction. Sangria is a good mix, because it has sugar and alcohol levels to replenish and relax. Make sure to also pack water.
We got quite discouraged multiple times during this journey being such a long one, especially with so many hikers stating "you are almost there" when you are 7 miles out. The face you make after passing these hikers, is featured below. My beautiful, hungry and impatient wife sits deciding whether or not, it was worth it to continue. Spoiler alert: she decided it was worth it to continue.
The river next to her came from the lake, above giving a white tint to the rocks- it was quite a spectacular view.
After you see this, its another period of hiking up the last peak, unfortunately everyone was telling us as they were coming down that we were almost there. Even though it was another 5 mile steep walk. Becca's face just stayed the perpetual "are you kidding me?!" as photographed earlier. We just gave her what every wife likes, sangria. She smiled more then.
We were finally done, getting to the top, and all you can do: go to the waters edge, sit on a rock, eat some food and soak it all in. But really go put your feet in it really helps the aches. Just don't dunk your face it because if you don't know, all this water is snow melt. So it is icy as warned previously.
After you decide that dying there is not an option, walking down takes half the time and makes you wish this place had a gondola to take you back down the mountain. After everything you go through it is worth the experience and your time. When living in Montrose, you are obligated to enjoy the nature and life that was given to you, so visit and go get a trip (or two) in.
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