The last two 4th of July weekends have seen the start of a tradition. Backpacking and backcountry fly fishing at Lower Sand Creek Lake in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Southern Colorado. The first year (2014) we went into the trip not knowing what to expect. The word was that the lake had amazing fishing in a ridiculous setting. Getting there would require several hours of driving with about an hour or so on dirt roads that got increasingly more 4wd as you get closer to the trailhead. Then a few more miles of backpacking over Music Pass into a valley to get to the lake. I’ll let the photos talk but it definitely surpassed the expectations.
4th of July 2015 was coming and there was no doubt about where we were headed.
But first was the drive. Driving into Westcliffe, CO and the Wet Mountain Valley we get the first glimpse of the Sangre de Cristo Range.
After a quick gas/lunch stop in Westcliffe we headed out into the dirt roads toward the trailhead at Music Pass.
After getting organized at the trailhead we set off hiking up the old road toward Music Pass. This trail just goes up, up, up. So I have no photos of that struggle. But once we got to the Pass we took a break and took some photos.
It was clear once we got to the Pass that there were afternoon thunderstorms brewing. So we prepared to get wet and started the hike into the valley. The lake below the tall peak on the left in the above photo (Tijeras Peak) is our destination.
We had some showers pass nearby but managed to stay mostly dry on the hike to the lake. As we got up the last hill in the forest close to the lake the sun decided to reappear.
Being able to set up camp while the sun was out was great, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Before we knew it another storm was blowing through. The temps dropped and thunder echoed throughout the basin. We had just enough time to gather some wood and get it under a tarp before the rain and hail started falling.
Once the hail stopped it was time to get out to the lake for some fishing.
We fished until the sun went down and then worked on getting a fire started with the somewhat damp wood. It eventually worked and everyone warmed up around the heat.
Day 2 started with some coffee, breakfast, and more fishing. Then with great weather we hiked around the lake to explore up the slope toward Tijeras Peak.
A photosphere Eric took. Click and drag around to explore.
On the way back to camp we gathered more firewood for a 4th of July campfire. It was still early afternoon so we fished a little and hung out around camp a bit.
Then almost like Mother Nature has a schedule to keep, another thunderstorm blew in. Only this time everyone got in their sleeping bags and napped until it stopped. Once the rain died down I snuck out and explored above camp a bit.
There are a few unmarked social trails in the forest that lead to the surrounding peaks.
Then it was time for a little more fishing before the sun set.
After dinner and starting a fire Reggie and I took some time to take a few night photos of the lake as the moon came up.
The following morning Adam and I woke up for sunrise.
After packing up camp we all fished for a couple more hours before hiking back out to the trailhead. It was a windy morning but the fishing was still unreal.
In the 2 hours of fishing I managed to catch somewhere around 28ish fish. At some point you just stop counting and keep casting.
Unfortunately it was time to head back to the trailhead. We had to head out before Mother Nature’s thunderstorm schedule snuck up on us. So it was a quick lunch followed by the hike out.
Only 4 months until 4th of July weekend 2016…