After filling my kelly green Kelty 90 bag, I did a little internet browsing. Luckily, the planner in me had already prepared for situations like this, and I looked to a few lists of trails saved on AllTrails.com.
I was left with a few choices, but none stood out like The Medicine Bow National Forest outside of Laramie, Wyoming!
It only took me seven minutes from the Lakes Trail Trailhead Sign to see the water of Lookout Lake. We approached the area from above it and on its right side. From here, I could see there was a small grove of short trees that looked like the perfect shelter. I veered off the trail, walked toward the water, and found the perfect clearing.
I attempted to do a little fishing as the sun was setting and I had unpacked my gear. I tied on a green wooly bugger streamer, but sadly, I didn't have any luck. I questioned whether or not there were even fish in the lake, but I figured I would try again in the morning.
Wide awake at 5:30 that morning, I stammered in my tent for a bit before getting out to get the food from my bear bag. When I walked out, I was a little surprised at the sight I found! Fish were jumping everywhere! There were so many that it looked like a light rain was falling. It was a sight I had never seen before. I quickly got my food down and grabbed my rod.
You can see more of these fish jumping in the extended YouTube video below!
I took off the cumbersome streamer that I had been using the night before, and I put on the smallest dry fly I could find. It was a #22 blue wing olive pattern. I attached it to the end of my tippet with a fisherman’s knot and started swinging.
The success continued, and I was blown away by how much fun I was having. This incredible show of jumping fish continued on for almost two hours, and all of a sudden, they stopped. No more fish were biting at my flies or popping out of the water anywhere. I finally decided to stop and reeled it in. I called it a day after landing six trout!
It was only 9 a.m, so I warmed up some breakfast and tea and enjoyed the sunrise over the mountains above me. By the time I had eaten, looked at my maps, cleaned up camp, and grabbed my day hiking gear, it was starting to warm up outside. I decided to walk over the pass on the Lakes Trail to see what the view looked like from above.
When we made it up to the high point of the trail, we could see down onto the area we had come from and a new area full of more lakes and trail systems. Instead of walking down among the new lakes, I looked left and saw The Medicine Bow Peak trail. I decided that heading up to the summit is what I would do.
It was 11 a.m. when Maria started pulling me up the trail. It was a rough trail of steep switchbacks, but with every turn, I swear the views somehow got better. We eventually climbed high enough to see seemingly all of the lakes on all sides of the mountain and miles past them.
We spent a good while exploring at the summit. The views were breathtaking, and they were the perfect place for us to take a break and catch our breath. We found a seat, I grabbed a snack, and Maria drank a bowl of water. We hung out for a while at the top and took it all in.
When I heard someone mention that it looked like a storm was rolling in we started heading down. It took us only 20 to 30 minutes to make it down the trail. It was rocky and a little rough on the knees, but we kept pushing down the hill, as more and more people were talking about the weather.
Even though I cut the trip a night short, my first solo backpacking trip was an absolute success. It went more perfectly than I could have imagined. The views of the lakes from above, the surrounding flowers close below, and the perfect morning of fishing, were incredible. This spontaneous trip was unlike anything I could have planned.
You can watch more from the entire weekend in my YouTube video below!
12/2/2022 02:21:09 pm
Sounds like the area I live in (Rico Colorado) 30 miles south of Telluride Colorado
12/3/2022 07:42:56 am
No way! I’m actually going to be passing through there tomorrow. Small world!
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Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read.