On the trail: Catching up
August 14, 2005
Back in the late 1990s, I hiked to Lyle and Mormon lakes in the upper Fryingpan Valley with a couple of friends. A photo of our threesome still hangs on my refrigerator door.I vowed then to return for an overnight to the stunning Mormon Lake. Saturday night, I finally made it. I and friend escaped our routinely busy weekend schedules, ostensibly to catch whatever we might see of the Perseid meteor shower a night after it was supposed to peak. Neither of us saw a single shooting star – I didn’t even take a peak out the tent door in the cold night to check on the clearing skies, which were overcast when we retired to our respective tents. Still, the trip didn’t disappoint.The wildflowers along the trail to Lyle Lake were past their prime, but the meadows were still a vibrant mix of yellow and shades of purple. It was only upon close inspection that one noticed the pedals curling or blooms incomplete.At higher elevations the profusion of asters, magenta paintbrush, gentian, bluebells, delicate elephant heads and an abundant yellow flower of some sort were peaking. The hillsides were breathtaking, even for a couple of seasoned hikers who’ve seen it all before, many times.Shortly after we reached the shore of Mormon Lake, I spied a huge trout about a foot off the shoreline. It would be the highlight of the trip, from an angling point of view. I had a brook trout on my line briefly, but other than that, the fishing was as big a bust as the stargazing.In my mind, the real highlight of the trip was time on the trail with an old friend. We see each other daily at the office, but time away from the demands of our wildly divergent personal lives makes a hike together a real rarity. Our last hike together predated that first hike I took to Mormon Lake some six summers ago.At camp, we settled back to share a bottle of wine, laughs and memories. We discussed life with children (his), life without children (mine), career paths and assorted trivialities of no particular consequence.We failed to get a photo for my fridge, but I’ll remember it anyway.