On the trail: The other Tellurium Lake
July 28, 2009
FRYINGPAN VALLEY – My resolve to hike new trails this summer rather than hitting familiar favorites dissolved faster than my vow to drop the same 10 pounds again, but I made some progress – on the hiking, that is – last weekend.
I and several companions were headed to a been-there, done-that destination Saturday – the worthy Lyle and Mormon lakes in the upper Fryingpan Valley – when we changed direction en route to the trailhead. We put our heads together and headed for a new spot on the map – Tellurium Lake in the Holy Cross Wilderness (not to be confused with a lake of the same name accessed off Independence Pass near Aspen).
This Tellurium Lake is north of the Fryingpan Valley (take Forest Road 501, above Ruedi Reservoir, to Forest Road 506 and follow it to the trailhead on Last Chance Creek. Forest Road 506, incidentally, is driveable in a passenger car.
It was maybe four miles to the lake – a moderate hike through woods and the open Tellurium Park, with only a short bit of noticeable uphill climbing. We were at the lake in roughly two hours and just in time for a leisurely lunch.
I saw no evidence of trout in the lake, but the lack of other people on the trail on a sunny Saturday morning more than made up for the lackluster fishing prospects. In fact, parts of the trail were starting to fill in with vegetation – a telltale sign that this trail doesn’t get nearly the traffic of others in the area.
We didn’t encounter anyone on the way out, either. Maybe it’s the relatively long drive to the trailhead that deters hikers.
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I can’t say the lake was so amazingly gorgeous that I’ll make a point of returning, but it’s always satisfying to look at the map and know I’ve got another one in the bag, with only countless others left to go.