Blue Lakes Pass in the Mist...Shangri-la?
After arriving in Ouray and setting up our tent in the one hour that it wasn't raining, we hoped that at some point we would get to do at least ONE of the three main hikes we had planned during our stay in Colorado. We were to be in the Ouray area for 4 days...and for most of those days it rained. On September 11th, it cleared in the afternoon and we decided to make a break for our number one destination: Blue Lakes Pass. On our way up to Yankee Boy Basin, it was misty and cloudy...making for lots of atmosphere, but worrisome! We followed the guide book, Ouray Hiking Guide, by Kelvin Kent. He advised driving up to the outdoor toilet and then, if you can, going another 300 yds before parking your vehicle. We have a 2012 Subaru Outback, and although we questioned our sanity a couple times, we made it to the point he suggested. Two different people gave my husband kudos for having brought OUR OWN vehicle that far! Once on the trail, a storm blew in dumping ice on us...not rain, not hail, but little bits of ice. I was in the lead and my husband thought for sure I would sugest we forget it, but since it wasn't lightning & thunder, I was determined that we would salvage something out of this trip to the San Juans and I forged ahead. And fortunately, soon the sun peeked out and all was well. We took the well-marked and well-trodden path to the top but had a few moments of trepidation during the last 500 ft or so...because of all the rain, much of the path had just kind of "mushed" off...you had to really watch your step or you would tumble over and fall quite a ways onto sharp talus. During dry times, I can't imagine that this is much of a problem. We were rewarded at the summit with a beautiful view all around...clouds were floating way below us over the Blue Lakes and back behind us over Yankee Boy Basin. Early on on the trail, we had met a fellow from Wisconsin who had Sneffels as his ultimate objective. We spoke a bit and he went on. We watched as he ascended the chute up to the saddle and the saw him inexplicably turn to the right rather than left which would have brought him to the summit of Sneffels. Since it was so late in the day (3 pm) and we never saw him again once we descended, we kind of worried about him.
Anyway, it was a beautiful hike and we were so thankful that we were able to salvage something out of such a rainy trip.