Hartenstein Lake hike photos

Hartenstein Lake hike photos

Photos taken on the Denny Creek trail to Hartenstein Lake in the Collegiate Peaks, west of Buena Vista, CO, May 29, 2007.

Copyright (c) 2007, Sandra J. Loosemore. Photos are provided for personal viewing only; no other use is permitted without prior written consent.

Here's a shot of my general destination, taken as I was leaving my hotel in Buena Vista in the morning. That's Mt. Yale. Looks like a gorgeous day for a hike, doesn't it?

Obligatory shot of Kaeru the frog at the trailhead. The parking lot looks empty because it is; doing this hike on a weekday, I only encountered one other party of hikers on the mountain the whole day.

The lower part of the trail climbs steeply through the pine forest. There's not much to be seen here, and a lot of loose rock on the trail requires you to pay attention to where you step.

After about a mile, you cross Denny Creek via a log bridge.

I saw these wild strawberries in bloom in one of the forest clearings.

Finally starting to get out of the trees, with Mt. Yale coming in to view.

Here's another view across a small meadow.

Looking in the other direction, Denny Creek has turned into a bog. A sign at the trailhead warned that these high-elevation bogs are the home of a vanishing, rare toad species and that hikers should avoid disturbing the habitat. I cannot say I heard any toads croaking in there.
About a half mile past the stream crossing, the trail to Mt. Yale forks right (east). I took the left fork, which follows the ridge above the Denny Creek drainage as it curves around to the west.

Above the trail junction, the views start to get really good. This one is looking east and a little north to Mt. Yale, elevation 14196.

This one is looking more southeast, down the trail and across Cottonwood canyon to Gladstone Ridge. Beyond that is Mt. Princeton, elevation 14197. BTW, I was rather amused that both Mt. Princeton and Mt. Harvard (14414) are higher than Mt. Yale, but all three outrank Oxford and Columbia!

Now we're looking southwestward, across and up the Denny Creek drainage. The unnamed peak is marked x12739 on the map.

Finally, here's a look to the west, and slightly north. The trail to Hartenstein lake goes over on the left side of this unnamed peak (marked only x12956 on the map), while Brown's Pass is over on the right side somewhere.

Kaeru takes in the views from a trailside rock while I poke around for alpine wildflowers.

Some nice violets.

Here are some tiny pearly everlastings. Note also the stonecrop, with fleshy leaves.

These things with the little pink buds have me stumped.

These tiny moss-like plants are called fairy candelabra. Normally, the leaves and branches are green, but it seems that they lose their chlorophyll after blooming.

Here's another clump of fairy candelabra.

Some yellow buttercup-type flowers.

The umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers and serrated leaves are clues that this plant belongs somewhere in the parsley family.

These are the same candytuft-like white flowers I also saw on my hike to The Crags on the previous day.

A little ways farther up, the trail meets up with the north fork of Denny Creek. Brown's Pass is farther up this drainage.

There were a lot of these globe flowers growing near the creak.

The bee was really giving this flower a good working-over, giving me plenty of time to snap photos of her.

Here's a bunch of marigolds right by the water.

The Brown's Pass trail continues straight along the creek, but I'm taking the left fork to Hartenstein Lake.

This is looking back down the trail from the junction, with Mt. Princeton in the background.

After crossing the creek, the trail briefly passes through some more pine trees before emerging out on the open slope again. Now we're really starting to get up into the high country, about 11500 feet. Here's a great view looking eastward to Mt. Yale.

And, here's where we're headed. The mountain in the left-center is Turner Peak, and the lake is nestled in the bowl just beyond the trees. We're looking at a north-facing slope, so the snow isn't too surprising for the end of May. OTOH, those clouds are starting to look a little ominous, aren't they?

Denny Creek is somewhere down below the left side of the trail, but here's a little alpine bog in a hollow over on the right side. I didn't hear any toads in this one either!

I spotted these little pink flowers along this section of trail. I'm pretty sure these are rock cress.

Now here are some big flowers for a change -- about the size and shape of an egg. They're pasqueflowers, Pulsatilla patens.

Here's another one. Note that they're hairy all over -- petals, stems, leaves, etc.

So finally the trail drops down into the bowl at the top of Denny Creek. Notice how grey and gloomy it's looking here? Just as I got to this point, it started to snow. Uh-oh!

Here's another shot in the upper bowl, showing the view to Turner Peak at this point. The sky is looking even darker in this shot, and the snow was starting to pick up, so I decided to beat a hasty retreat down the mountain rather than explore any further.

Coming down, here's another shot looking down trail at Mt. Princeton, with snow clouds all around.

So here's another shot of Mt. Yale from Buena Vista (taken from the park near the river) later that same afternoon. Quite a change from the morning view, eh?

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