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Deluge Lake

It has already been two months since my last real trip into the mountains, and I was feeling their pull again. Last fall's venture to Salmon Lake in the Gore Range left me asking for more, so I decided to head to another lake there, the Deluge Lake. As I wanted to take photographs, I planned an overnight trip.

Upslope clouds in Boulder soon gave way to sun as I drove along I-70 toward Vail. Deluge Lake trail starts just east of Vail off an I-70 frontage road. At about 8700 feet, it provides a relatively low elevation starting point. After a short gradual start, where the trail even descends a bit, comes a steep ascent that will test your legs. There were plenty of rewards for the effort - the sky was at its best Colorado blue, aspen trees, despite being a bit past their prime, nicely complemented the sky. I met quite a few people descending down the trail while only a Vail native with his dog hit the trail at the same early afternoon time as I had. Burdened by my heavy pack, I took frequent breaks. It is about 4 miles from the trailhead to Deluge Lake, and the trail picks up about 2,300 feet in the first two miles. It levels off after finally reaching a ridge, then descend a bit down to a creek and emerges from the trees into alpine meadows. The rest is a gentle ascent to the lake, at 11,786 feet. Just as I was approaching the lake, the Vail guy and his dog started on their way down.

The evening sun made for some good photographic opportunities. There was a bit of fresh snow left over after a snow storm a week before. As I watched alpenglow on Snow Peak, I could not help but keep pressing the shutter. The night was pretty cold and quite long that time of the year. I got up well before the sunrise and took a few more sunrise shots. In fact, it was such a beautiful morning that I changed my plan to pack up and start heading down, and instead proceeded to a pass above the lake. There was no trail just a steep talus slope, that was icy in places. From the pass I walked up on a snow field to "Grand Traverse Peak", which is unnamed on most maps, but this name is used in some references. From the summit (just over 13,000 feet), I could see all of the Vail Valley to the west, south to Mt. Holly Cross in the Sawatch Range, and the rest of the Gore Range to the north and east.

It was a lot easier going down the trail. I met or passed a few people in the lower sections, but I realized most of the people going down the day earlier probably never reached the lake. And it sure is worth it.

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Colorado fall Aspen tree Into the sky Yellow and blue Meadow Snow Peak
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Deluge Lake Snowy patch Grassy patch
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Alpenglow Ten mile (Mesquito) Range Mt. Holy Cross
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Ridge Deluge Lake Reflections Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Valley
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Deluge Lake Deluge Creek Trail Gore Creek Valley Aspen


Last updated: December 27, 2002
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