We had grand plans today. After we stopped to fill up with fuel, the dogs and I headed up to Guanella Pass to hike back to Silver Dollar Lake. It was forecast to be very hot in Denver today, so a little respite in the mountains seemed like a good idea.
Just before the turn off for the pass, a message sign informed me that Guanella Pass is closed on this side — I recall that way back in April they were prepping for reconstruction of part of the road, and apparently it’s still closed for that work. Yes, I should have checked online at CDOT’s road condition web site first, but I was still bummed.
Seeking to make a little lemonade after driving this far, I decided to take the girls to their swimming spot on Clear Creek, which was just a few miles away. Our swimming spot on the river is basically a big empty lot with easy parking and access to the water. There’s been a sign there for at least two years promising that “Clear Creak White Water Park” (a rafting and kayak shop, I presume) is coming soon, but they apparently really really mean it now. The lot was roped off and heavy earth-moving equipment was already in place. Now what do I do?
I decided to loop back east and exit on the back side of Evergreen so I could cut over to the Maxwell Falls Trail. We were just up there last Sunday but it’s a nice hike and there’s plenty of running water for the dogs. Lucy made it farther than I expected, but she was showing signs of fatigue about 2 miles down the trail so we headed back to the trailhead. She’s much too heavy for me to carry back out, especially on a mountain trail. There was much running up and down the sides of the mountain and many chipmunks to chase. Even the constant questions from every group we passed about Lucy’s injury didn’t bother me today. All three of us had a wonderful time.
Once we were back in the car, both dogs were content to lie in the back seat with the windows open and the mountain air blowing over them. They didn’t even get excited when I stopped in Kitridge at Jimmy’s Hot Dog Stand to grab a late lunch… until they figured out I bought a hot dog for them to share. At that point, they had all of the energy in the world while they waited for me to tear the treat in half and let them have it.
In my book, this turned out to be a pretty good day for all of us.
Update: It appears that Guanella Pass was closed due to rock slippage, not construction:
Guanella Pass Road(County Road 381) closed due to rock instability. No through traffic. Restriction began August 21st, 2009 at 5:00pm.
The road has only been closed since yesterday afternoon.