Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thorp Lake

I have been dreaming of going to Thorp Lake for years since I first saw it on a map. Once I even drove around trying to find the trailhead. Many times over two winters I have searched the internet for trip reports and tried to imagine what it was like to be there. On Sunday, the 5th of July, I finally made it. But before we get to my report, remember how I skipped church on Father's Day to go fishing with my buddy Vlad?

thorp lake trail
Thorp Lake

I did go the following Sunday because I was an usher. At the end of the service our lay leader, Denise, had an announcement, she said "Normally we do this on Father's day, but this person wasn't here on Father's day." THAT got my attention. Then she said some very kind words about volunteering, joy, energy, passion and youth. I was sweating and my heart pounding. She announced that this year's Father of the Year was David Holmes. Ernie Jenner, our old lay leader, was at my side in an instant and he literally dragged me to the front of the congregation, who were all on their feet, beaming. I was overcome and could barely speak. I croaked about how much I loved them all and accepted the following certificate.

Father of the Year

I don’t think I can adequately express how meaningful this is to me. It’s not the certificate or the award, but the love and appreciation of the people that I care so deeply about. Its true that I've put in a few hours volunteering this year but I am happy to help. I feel the grace of God giving me peace when I do good works. And that's all I'm going to say about that!

thorp lake trail

Back to the report: to get to Thorp Mountain you have to go past it, through Roslyn and then approach from the East -- this makes for about a 90 minute drive. Maybe longer if you stop for a burger like I did. I accidently, but conveniently, dripped ketchup all over myself so that if I were eaten by a bear or cougar on the trail I would be pre-condimented.

thorp lake trail

The trailhead is not marked so you kind of have to know where to go. A new Garmin Colorado 300 GPS helped get me started. The trail follows the creek along the valley floor. Then it goes straight up, gaining 1000' in less than a mile. I took it very slowly and arrived at the lake at 4:00pm. Two hours to hike 2.5 miles. I'm SO SLOW.

First view of Thorp Lake

As you can see from the pictures, the trail is just plain GREEN. Green everywhere! And when you get to the lake, well its green, too! A deep forest green. It was beautiful. I don't think my pictures do it justice. I skirted around the lake to a rocky point and started assembling my new Sevylor trail boat. Fish were rising and splashing, including a big splash by the rockfall. A happy young couple were walking around the lake -- I could see their tent pitched right at the perfect spot on a wedge of land sticking into the middle of the U-shaped lake.

thorp lake

The water was surprisingly warm! Swimmable for sure, which is surprising given that Thorp Lake resides at 4600 feet. I think I hooked all four fish in the lake but they all got off due to my inexperience with the new trail boat and the requirement of fishing while not holding the rod. I'm sure I hooked the fish who made the large splash -- he had some good heft and I'm guessing he was 14 or 15". But in the end, after three exciting hours of alpine lake fishing, I was technically skunked! I beached my craft at 7:45pm and started the long hike back to the truck.

thorp lake trail

Just as with the hike up, I didn't see another soul on the hike down. The steep trail down makes for shaky knees. Arrived at the truck at 9:00 and then finally, home at 11:00pm. Thorp Lake was more beautiful than I had figured. I intend to return next year! Maybe with some friends.

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