Flat Tops Wilderness

The weekend of August 1, 2008, Tracy and I headed to the Flat Tops Wilderness in Colorado for a three day hiking trip.  We were originally going to hike in the Winds, but the snow still looked iffy, so then we decided to do the Beartooths, but the snow and a fire were iffy, so we settled on the Flat Tops.  Much like all of our recent trips, this one didn’t go as long as we had planned.  The mosquitoes were MUCH worse than we expected, and my Thermacell mosquito repellent crapped out when we got over 11,000 feet.  Good times.  But we hiked up past Wall Lake and camped in a really nice high meadow.  We heard a pack of coyotes a couple of times, we watched a couple of storms pass by in the very near distance, and we tried to survive the mosquitoes.  After we went to bed it rained on us most of the night, but it didn’t storm.  
We got up the next morning and decided to shorten our loop and just do two days instead of three.  We headed back down Fraser Creek towards Trapper Lake instead of staying on the top.  We found some nice tarns just above Fraser.  The trail down Fraser Creek wasn’t nearly as nice as the hike up to Wall Lake…it was mostly burned out forest with lots of mosquitoes.  About halfway down we were blasted by a nasty thunderstorm.  It had lots of lightning, lots of rain, and lots of hail.  Good times.  The lightning was particularly fun.  After the storm passed we high-tailed it on down the trail because there was another storm behind it.  We were really glad we hadn’t stayed up high when that storm came through.  We also listened to a pack of coyotes sounding like they were celebrating after the storm passed…that was cool.
After about 15 miles of hiking we made it back to the car and decided to explore this part of Colorado.  We ended up at Mt. Zirkel Wilderness and car camped out there.  On Monday we continued driving through Colorado.  I did some fishing at a lake, and caught a couple of trout.  We also drove by the biggest ranch we had ever seen…they had built a wooden fence around the whole thing that went for miles and miles…it was really incredible.  We also went to Gates of the Lodore in Dinosaur National Monument, and that was nice.  Then we drove back around Flaming Gorge, and eventually ended up back home.  
While we didn’t spend the whole 3 or 4 days we had planned on the trail, we still had a great time.  The side of the Flat Tops we hiked was really pretty around Wall Lake, but further back in it became swampy and not as grassy.  But at least we’ve backpacked in the Flat Tops now.

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