Solitude Lake

Solitude Lake is off the main trail leading to Black Lake.  The point where you leave the main trail is not easy to see, so most people pass right by not even realizing what they might be missing.  It was raining the day I decided to do this hike so I settled on just finding the side trail the first day and coming back the next day to finish the hike.  The following day wasn't any clearer, but it was a little colder so I had snow rather than rain.  Much better hiking weather.

Be sure to click on these thumbnail photos for larger versions.

1. Alberta Falls is beautiful and near enough to trailhead that many people hike up to see it.

2. Glacier Falls can't be seen from the trail but is very near the trail just past the split to Mills Lake.

3. Snow on mushroom just after the Mills/Loch split.

4. Mills Lake and Glacier Gorge.  The snow was light but heavy enough to block good views of the tall peaks.

5. Looking south over the inlet end of Mills Lake.

6. Just past Jewel Lake in a marshy area where half cut logs were placed to walk on.  There are no footprints in the snow yet; I must be the first one here this morning.

7. A little farther up the trail is a large area showing avalanche damage.  There was a lot of snow the past winter and a lot of trees were knocked down here.  Later in the day when I got up to the shelf holding Shelf Lake, you could clearly see the path that the avalanche took.

8. This is the spot where you leave the main trail and cross Glacier Creek to start the 1000 ft climb up to Shelf Lake.  It's not easy to see from the main trail.  Arrowhead is just barely visible through the light snow.

9. There is actually a reasonably good trail up to Shelf Lake considering how infrequently it must be used.  The lower portion is through a wooded area that isn't too hard to follow.  Farther up it gets real rocky and there are cairns to follow.  A couple cairns can be seen here.

10. Nearing the shelf I found this Waterfall with Arrowhead in the background.

11. A closer view of the waterfall.

12. Water spray freezes on nearby vegetation.

13. Moist air was burbling over the continental divide causing brief periods of fairly heavy snow.  Most of the time the snow was heavy enough that I couldn't see to the other side of Glacier Basin.  Occasionally it would lighten though and I was finally able to get this shot.  Looking back to the southeast you can see the Keyboard of the Winds, Pagoda Mountain and the Spearhead.  It never did clear enough to see Longs Peak though.  I really wanted to get a good shot of Longs Peak and the Trough from this vantage point.  Next time.

14. A waterfall from Solitude Lake drains into Shelf Lake.

15. Here is that waterfall again as I get closer.

16. Colorful vegetation between Shelf and Solitude Lakes.

17. Small waterfall between Shelf and Solitude Lakes.

18. Solitude Lake.

19. The jagged landscape above Solitude Lake.