Spectacle Lakes Attempt


I'm a fairly conservative hiker and that holds true for planning as well.  I rarely plan a hike that exceeds my ability so I usually get to the places I plan to hike to.  This hike was one of those rare hikes where I didn't reach my destination.  One short section, not far from my destination, got a little to dangerous for my comfort level and I turned back before finishing.  It was still a great hike though with lots of great scenery.

Be sure to click on these photos for larger versions.


1. Not too far from the trailhead, the trail nears Roaring River and you can see the scar left by the flood caused by the Lawn Lake dam break of 1982.

2. An enormous volume of soil and rocks was washed down with the river.

3. More of the erosion.

4. It was still quite early in the morning and darker than the previous pictures imply.  The aspen-glow was just reaching Longs Peak.

5. Here you can just see the top of Ypsilon Mountain on the left and Fairchild Mountain on the right.

6. The Ypsilon Lake trail branches off of the Lawn Lake trail here and crosses Roaring River.  That's Fairchild Mountain.

7. This is the bridge crossing Roaring River.

8. A little farther along the trail and you get to an overlook where you can see the Alluvial Fan area.  All the mud and rock that washed down the river with the flood was deposited here.

9. The Alluvial Fan area and Horseshoe Park.

10. The trail continues up at the very top of a ridgeline.

11. There's Ypsilon Mountain peaking through the trees.

12. More of the trail.

13. This is Chipmunk Lake.  Ypsilon Lake isn't much farther.

14. Ypsilon Lake.  That ridge leads up toward Ypsilon Mountain.

15. Ypsilon Lake again.  This time looking toward the east.

16. Continuing to the west, this is looking back at Ypsilon Lake.

17. An informal trail follows the stream to the west.  There's a waterfall up ahead.

18. A very nice waterfall in fact.

19. Getting a little closer.

20. How about that, the little informal trail rates a bridge.

21. Continuing on.

22. The gully I need to ascend is up ahead and to the right.

23. It's getting a little rocky.

24. This is looking back toward where I came from.

25. After climbing some more, this is looking back again.

26. Keep working my way up.

27. Keep working my way up.

28. The way to go here is fairly obvious.  There is really no choice but to head up this chute.

29. There are a couple other hikers up ahead.

30. Let's zoom in a little.  This is the point where I stashed the camera because the difficulty level just bumped up a couple notches and I needed to get it out of my way.  So I don't have any pictures past this point.  Not too much farther ahead, you get to a point where you need to ascend a jumble of large rocks that have the stream spilling over them.  The stream made the rocks slick and raised the difficulty level just one notch higher than I was comfortable with, so I didn't proceed any farther.  I don't know for sure, but I doubt that my Spectacle Lakes goal was much farther ahead.  Oh well, I'll have another chance of seeing Spectacle Lakes the following day from above when I try to summit Ypsilon Mountain.