Hutcheson Lakes and Cony Lake, 06/28/2003
Started hiking from the Allenspark Trailhead at 7:50. There were only two other cars parked there, with plenty of space left at this small parking area. It was a cloudless sunny morning as we headed toward Finch Lake and on to Pear Lake. Before getting to Finch Lake, we passed 3 groups of people going in the opposite direction, which were the last people that we saw before our return trip. At Pear Lake, the trail ends, and we continued up toward the Hutcheson Lakes heading southwest from the inlet side of Pear Lake. The forest that we traversed between Pear Lake and treeline had about 50% of its area covered with snow. The amount of snow was reduced at treeline, where the sun could melt it more easily. At this point, we stopped to apply some sunblock. Above treeline, the scenery was outstanding. Along Cony Creek, part of a large snowbank had fractured and was leaning into the creek. On the way to Cony Lake, we crossed over some large patches of snow, but the going was mostly on rock and alpine tundra with lots of buttercups in bloom. We reached Cony Lake at about 12:15. The view from here was spectacular, with the glacier above the lake, Ogalalla Peak, Cony Pass, and Elk Tooth, on a grand scale. On a flat rock before the lake, with the place all to ourselves, we had lunch, snapped some pictures, and enjoyed the view. Uncharacteristically, at this time of day, the thunderclouds were not yet developed. We began our return trip at about 13:30. Before descending, we climbed up to a perch to the northeast of the lake, where we took more pictures, including one of an interesting large rock with criss-crossed white veins. Entering the forest again, with the help of Stefan's amazing sense of direction, we soon made it back to Pear Lake. Returning to Peak Lake can be tricky, since in the forest, the drainages go into Cony Creek and not toward Pear Lake. We returned to the truck at 16:45, making a total round trip time of 8 hours, and 55 minutes.