Friday, August 31, 2012

Wallace Lake 2012...

Since yesterday's hike was a bit of a disaster, we decided take it easy on our last day in Colorado.  Plus, Trevor was still under the weather and I wanted to be able to spend time with my little family before heading back to Big D.  That meant no hiking if we wanted to all stay together...unless, I could find a destination accessible by Jeep.

We started out the day by having lunch in town so mom could have one last brown beer, and Trevor could buy his mother a present.  During this mealtime excursion, Banner had an opportunity to sit in his very first high chair; something he enjoyed very, very much.  I think it was because he felt like he was part of all the action at the table.

Banner just couldn't understand why
we wouldn't let him taste daddy's "beer".

Of course, all I could think of was all the germs on the high chair and the fact that I didn't have a wipe or any kind of disinfectant.  I swear I never used to be this neurotic.

Luckily, we had a paci, which we have plans to start phasing out once we return to Dallas.  He normally only has access to it when he sleeps (which is supposed to lower the risk of SIDS in the first year), but we've been using it more on the trip to Colorado because it keeps him from trying to put everything in his mouth.  Banner has mastered the pincer grip fine motor skill, and I caught him the other day trying to pick up ants and eat them.  Luckily, when the paci is in his mouth, the corner of the table, menus, paper, bugs, grass and whatever else he can find are not.

The exception, of course, was for his first slice of orange.  We meant for that to go in Banner's mouth:

Banner doing his best impression of Lady Falconburgh.

Anyway, after lunch, we travelled to Wallace Lake, which is up Missionary Ridge above CR 250.  According to my mother, it used to be a lovely little spot with three lakes - two on either of side of a larger one in the middle.  Around the perimeter, was a path and it provided a nice, little hike for visitors who either just arrived in the altitude or who wanted something short, flat and easy.

But then the 2002 fire happened, and the area, along with its thick aspen forest, was reduced to nothing but blackened stumps and ashes. 

Trevor and I visited Wallace Lake five years ago in 2007.  At the time, the lakes were full, and you could still see the path around the perimeter and through the trees.  We hoped that we'd find signs of even more recovery five years later, but instead we found that the lakes were all completely dry.  

It was evident by all the shell casings and clay fragments that the area was now being used more for skeet shooting, target practice and hunting than hiking, camping and fishing.  The path around the lake was overgrown and had all but vanished (except every now and again when you would briefly catch a glimpse of it), and the only life we saw were a herd of cows.

Wanting to recapture some of what used to be, mom, Banner (in the Bjorn) and I headed out for a hike around the clearing where the largest lake used to be, while Trevor watched us from the Jeep.  We tried to follow the old path, but it quickly disappeared and we were unable to locate it again.  So we forged our own trail through the tall grass, and slowly made our way around what used to be the perimeter of the lake.  During the walk, mom told me stories of hikes around Wallace Lake more than a decade ago.  She says it used to be one of her favorite hikes and was just as picturesque as Spud Lake.

Don't get me wrong, the area was still beautiful.  Just in a very different way.  The trees and forest are starting to return, but it was weird to see the lakes so completely dry.  It was a dry summer, but I didn't think it was that bad.

Anyway, here are some of my pictures from our last Colorado hike in 2012:

The view from the lake up Missionary Ridge
(looking northwest)

Whaaaat?  Another hike?

All done!
(He was very happy to see his daddy)

Views from the drive back down the ridge to the cabin.

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