TR: Huerfano River & Lily Lake 7/6/2013
Amee had never been to the Sangre de Cristo range before. We both felt this was a problem that needed to be rectified. So, we headed to a spot that I had been once before, the Huerfano River valley.
The Huerfano is in the heart of the Sangres, which is kind of an odd term because the range is very narrow. Nevertheless, the Huerfano river spills from below the dramatic north face of Blanca Peak down one of the few river drainages that parallels the spine of the range. It is remote and beautiful.
My previous trip here was rather... eventful. It was my first ever backpacking trip - I was about 12 or 13? I was with my parents and brother, and we packed in and set up a camp. The next day we hiked up above treeline to Lily Lake, but wound up getting caught in a ferocious lightning storm. We ended up sprinting down the mountain and eventually took shelter in an abandoned mine shaft (sketchy). My dad badly sprained his ankle on the way down, but we were otherwise OK.
t was a long time before I went backpacking again.
Despite the memories of the storm, I also remembered the hike being absolutely stunning, so Amee and I retraced my 15 year old footsteps back to Lily Lake. Things start out spectacular, with the north face of Blanca Peak in the distance.
A little further up the valley, Blanca still dominates the view.
Until you reach the head of the valley... where Blanca continues to dominate.
Happy girl. Happy dog.
From the head of the valley, we turned west and climbed up a series of benches towards Lily Lake, a hanging tarn below Ellingwood Point and California Peak. Here's the view looking back east across the valley.
Lily Lake and Blanca Peak.
Amee and I, Amee and Roobix.
This time we managed to avoid any thunderstorms, and the hike back to the car was uneventful.