It’s a long way from Manchester, UK to Fort Collins, Colorado, especially if you’ve never been to the USA before and you aren’t exactly sure what you are in for. John Waterhouse, a friendly fellow from Manchester who joined our group a year ago as we walked the Coast to Coast path across England, decided sometime this winter that he’d like to cross the pond and check out the Colorado mountains.
Despite never being in the U.S., John is a well-travelled hiker and mountain climber and has seen much of the world pursuing his love of the outdoors. A couple of days after his arrival, we headed for the Indian Peaks area near Boulder to climb up to Blue Lake. After a 90-minute drive into remote back country, we arrived at a nearly-full parking lot. We were not the only ones with this idea, even though it was a weekday.
It took about two hours of hiking on a trail sometimes rocky, sometimes soggy with spring runoff and with a log crossing over a swiftly running stream before we arrived at a small lake, nestled into a depression among the surrounding hills, rapidly filling up as streams of melted snow cascaded down the hillsides. The sky was blue, blue, there was a breeze blowing and huge chunks of melting ice in several shades of blue floated in the icy waters.
I was thankful to John for coming to these parts. It had been way too long since I’d been up in these hills, and if it weren’t for him, I’d no doubt have been pulling weeds in my sorry-looking garden. The weeds will never go away for good, but these amazing summer days and the spectacular nature of the Rocky Mountains is only accessible for a few months every year. And we have only so many years to do these things.
Today we are off to show John some Wyoming rock formations and the next day we’ll hike again, closer to home this time and with as many of our Coast to Coast walking group that we can round up to go with us.
Thanks again, John. Come back soon.