This weekend was a tuff weekend when it came to deciding where to hike. According to all the weather information available on the web, it would be sunny but windy. I do not like to hike in winds over 20 miles per hour. I have been pushed over a few times because of strong winds. The decision to hike to the top of Comanche Peak was made based on the ability to get to the trailhead. This we knew would be no problem. We left at 5:00 a.m. and were hiking at about 6:30.
The Alvarado Camp Ground is a nice place. You can hike a 12 mile loop as long as the weather provides. To hike the loop you start by follow Alvarado Creek. Then right above Comanche Lake you hike up to the saddle and cross over to the west side of the mountain range. You hike about a mile north before crossing back over and hiking across Phantom Terrace Cliff. The trail will take you next to Venable Lakes and then down Venable Creek right back to the Alvarado Camp Grounds. This loop was the real goal for the day. The sun had just started to lighten up the east sky. We only needed a headlamp for just a few minutes. After walking a bit, we stumbled across a leg of an animal just lying on the trail. It appeared the hip was still attached. This made me wonder where the rest of the animal was. I also wondered what carried it down the trail and then left it there. There was still hair on the calf right anjbove the hoof. I just do not want to stumble across the predator that killed the animal in the first place. After hiking a while, we were able to see Horn Peak. There are only a couple of places on the trail where you can get a good look at it. That is a tuff hike! Three times is a charm!
Horn Peak in the distance.
Trail a bit before the lake.
About 400 feet from the lake the snow was between 12 inches to 18 inches deep. There were a few places that we post holed. We arrived at the lake to see that it had not started to freeze yet. What a site!
Pano of the lake and surounding mountains
Comanche Peak and the surrounding mountains had a lot of snow and the snow on the ridge looked deep. After looking at the saddle, it was apparent we were not going to hike the loop. I did not mind! I was a bit tired from clearing and fixing the trail along the way. The thought of stomping through the snow without snow shoes did not sound appealing either.
Trail to the saddle.
The wind blew pretty hard at the lake. As the wind rushed down the mountain side, you could see the water start to ripple. Seconds later the ripples covered the lake. Then the wind would pick up small particles of dirt and spray them across your body stinging your face. We relaxed for a while and then headed back. The trail had a bit of snow whenever the trail was in the shad. Now those areas became slippery.
Trail covered with snow
The hike down felt longer than when we went up. Why!
This is what the trail looked like most of the time. Dry!
Trail and evergreens covered with the Aspin leaves.
We arrived at the camp ground and could not resist the colors that surrounded us. The Aspen were so bright with the sun shining on them.
Fall colors. Nice!
Sun touching the Aspins. Beautiful!
The hike ended up being around nine miles round trip. Over all it was a wonderful day to hike.
Another Pano of the area.