Lake Isabelle - Snowshoeing

November 23, 2019 · Indian Peaks Wilderness

The snowshoeing season has officially begun! And for some reason I chose a long trail, to Lake Isabelle inside of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The weather was perfect, a lot of sun, and it had been snowing for the past two days. The wind was strong the closer I got to Lake Isabelle. In the winter the length of the trail to Isabelle Lake effectively doubles given that you need to start at the winter trail head. But that turned out to be okay, as the first 2.5 and last 2.5 miles are very flat.

I got a late start on this trail, late by exactly one hour, the amount of time I wasted not wanting to get out of bed. However, for a long snowshoeing trek of 11.7 miles it went fast, coming in at about 8.5 hours round trip. There wasn't a lot of people on the trail, I suspect that given the snow that been building in the mountains for the past two days, most people headed to the ski resorts. That helped make this first snowshoeing trek of the season all that more special.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky for the first part of the trek, although the wind was fierce in many places along the trail. But a good portion of the trail is in tall thin - stands of conifers, so you could almost always see the big blue sky. At Long Lake the wind swept across the frozen lake. The lake ice is already thick enough for ice fishermen, I did see three of them the ice. They didn't have wind tents, that must have been very cold.

The weather started out at 22 degrees then up to about 48 degrees then on the way back once the sun sets, the temperature drops quickly and shortly after sunset, it gets dark very fast. Knowing that I didn't have a lot of light to deal with, given that at this time of year it is dark by 5pm, there aren't a lot of pictures. Thankfully, I did make it to Lake Isabelle before the sun went down. The Indian Peaks are spectacular with a fresh dusting of snow.

I had a quick lunch at along the shore of the now frozen Lake Isabelle. The wind howled at times, with intermittent breaks. You could tell when the next blast of wind would come as the peaks of Indian Peaks would smoke with wind blowing snow off them.

This trek was also an opportunity to try out a lot of new clothing. There is a problem with one or two items, the mid-layer and the outer layer. They retain moisture, I have never been that soaking wet on a snowshoeing trek. I need to work that one out quickly, hypothermia is a real concern at this time of the year.

By the time I made it back to the Summer trailhead, the sun had just set and was getting colder and darker by the minute. Thankfully the last 2.5 miles went fast, but I did finish well after dark. Aside from issues that need to be worked out with the mid-layer and the outer layer it was a great, and long first snowshoe trek of the season.


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AREAS HIKED

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness9
Eagles Nest Wilderness10
Fossil Ridge Wilderness1
Fraser Experimental Forest1
Gunnison National Forest1
Holy Cross Wilderness12
Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness3
Indian Peaks Wilderness17
James Peak Wilderness1
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness2
Mount Evans Wilderness2
Mount Massive Wilderness2
Pike National Forest1
Raggeds Wilderness1
Rocky Mountain National Park41
San Isabel National Forest6
Sangre de Cristo Wilderness1
White River National Forest10
Zirkel Wilderness1

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SEASONS ON THE TRAIL

2021

The 2021 Season has started. Though the pandemic created a challenging 2020 season, I am looking forward to building on the 2020 season to create an incredible 2021 season. The pandemic has taught me a few things about when and where to go hiking. As such planning for the 2021 se...

2020

The 2020 hiking season has been incredible, even in the face of adversity. The pandemic has made for a logistically challenging season. Somehow, I was still able to piece together an incredible 230+ miles on the trail this season and able to see some truly spectacular places. Enj...

2019

The 2019 hiking season was an interesting season, this was the first season that I started and ended the season snowshoeing and a full summer of hiking for a total of just under 225 miles on the trail. What this season has taught me is that it's winter in the mountains for a long...

2018

The 2018 Summer Hiking Season has come to an end. What a season, incredible views and just over 230 miles on the trail. Even with 230 miles, this season seems short to me, perhaps I'll add something to it during the winter season - snowshoeing perhaps. In the meantime, I hope you...

2017

The 2017 hiking season was interesting, I was able to explorer more of Colorado's National Forests and get in some camping, not as much camping as I would have liked, but hopefully next year I'll able to get in more multi-day hikes. This season came in just under 129 miles roundt...

2016

The 2016 hiking season was about spreading out and exploring more of Eagles Nest Wilderness, Indian Peaks Wilderness and touching on White River National Forest - and of course a few trips into Rocky Mountain National Park. These are amazing National treasures. This season came i...

2015

The 2015 hiking season was a big hiking season, I decided to do a fundraiser for The Red Cross (I learned a lot about fundraising - it was very interesting) with my pledge to hike over 200 miles for this season, I came in at 217 miles for the season; what a great time out on the ...

2014

The 2014 hiking season was almost all about exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, it really is a beautiful park. What I learned during the course of this hiking season is, although people may roll their eyes when you say you're going on a hike in RMNP, it really is spectacular ...

2013

2013 is the year this all started. The hike to Pitkin Lake started it all. Although it was a difficult trail, I was hooked immediately. However, I didn't have the right gear and the seasons were changing quickly. So, even though this season only brought two hikes, I new this was ...