Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lake Isabelle

When I first visited Brainard Lake Recreation Area this past March, I knew I wanted to come back again in warmer weather.  So when Jay Keller suggested a hike to Lake Isabelle on Friday I jumped at the chance.

As dry as it's been in Colorado this year, conditions up here were still pretty lush and green.

I always regret not having my tripod now when I see a waterfall, since you can't get that nice "lacy" effect from the water shooting handheld.  Still, it's not like this is exactly ugly.

We decided to forgo hiking all the way to Isabelle Glacier in the distance.  The snow we walked on around the lake was sketchy enough, in terms of never knowing when we might sink through.

It was a little surprising to still see so much snow when it's nearly July already.  But it's nice that there's moisture somewhere.

Jay looked appropriately rugged and pensive as we decided to turn back.

The trail has less than 400 feet of elevation gain, but looking back down the valley and South Saint Vrain Creek it seemed like we'd gone much higher.

The wildflowers were just gorgeous.  I'd never seen so much variety in such a small area.

Every view from the lake seemed like a postcard.

Yellow stonecrop.

Indian paintbrush.

Fireweed, I believe.

Where you have blooming wildflowers, you will also find butterflies.

I'm not sure why some days none of the butterflies will sit still long enough for a picture, and other days they all seem happy to pose.  I was glad this was one of the latter kind of days.

(Identified by Mike Fisher as a Red Admiral -- Vanessa atalanta.)

Cleared for takeoff!

We took the Jean Lunning Trail around Long Lake on the way back, making the total distance about 4.6 miles which we covered in a leisurely three hours.  That's not too bad considering all the stops for pictures and an extended break at Lake Isabelle taking in the scenery.  I think I've managed to talk the family into going back on Sunday!

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