I awoke to a chilly 39 degree morning and could barely wait to get into my hot cup of S’Buck’s Via. After a very efficient break down of camp we headed on up towards Independence Pass and had planned one more hike before we left the area. The Linkens Lake Trail was our choice as it would be mostly above tree line with about 500 feet of elevation. It was a true gem. It was a steep short rocky hike of 1.7 miles and the 360 degrees views were stunning. It starts by Roaring Fork River and enters the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness Area (like that name) before ascending on a non-technical but an aggressive incline. Wildflowers, waterfalls, along the way and Lake Linkens at the end are beautiful.
Linkins Lake (elevation 12,008’) is what is called an alpine tarn. Jewel green in color and crystal clear, it is surrounded by fragile wildflowers, grasses, and lichen. The ground around was quite spongy so we treaded carefully and lightly. Being above tree line the view is of windswept expanses of mountain faces bordering the Continental Divide.
This, followed by the spectacular drive along the 12,005-foot Independence Pass, was a grande finale for our days of hiking. Enroute to Boulder and Longmont we took the scenic Peak to Peak Highway and were marveling at the rich beauty and ruggedness of the area when we rounded a corner and were thrust into the high stakes towns of Central City and Black Hawk. These two towns are in Clear Creek Canyon and are extensive gaming venues with rows of bustling casinos lining the road through this relatively narrow canyon. Just as quickly we were out of the casino row and back into undeveloped Rocky Mountain terrain. The week-end was quite a change of pace: real beds with clean sheets, a shower, carry-out meals, a time for regrouping, laundry, visiting with Amara’s Aunt Amy, a lovely walk up in the mountains though a relatively new growth forest, Sunday brunch, getting caught up on email. and beginning to formulate a travel plan for the rest of the drive west to Oregon. We headed to the LaQuinta by Denver Airport in the late afternoon for Tasia’s and Amara’s early Monday morning departure.