Backpacking in the Holy Cross Wilderness, Part II
Once my brother and I made it to Lower Missouri Lake, we wandered around and looked for a dry area to set up camp. Due to snowmelt, this task proved more difficult than we were anticipating. We finally found an area above the lower lake and near the trail to the upper lake. It ended up being perfect, with awe-inspiring views.
The 14 Missouri lakes and ponds are cradled in an alpine basin in the 122,797-acre Holy Cross Wilderness. The basin is surrounded by rugged peaks, including the 14,005-foot Mount of the Holy Cross. The scenery is quite impressive in its scale and diversity.
After setting up camp, we relaxed in what I dubbed our “living room/kitchen”. My brother cooked up his favorite backpacking meal, which was basically a bagel/pita pizza cooked in a steel pot above a small, portable stove.
After vegetating and taking in our surroundings, we decided to explore some of the area. We put on some sweet headlamps, grabbed a water purifier to restock our supplies, and set out to a lake we spotted in the distance. The trail was hidden by snow, so we forged our own path. After some stream crossings and rock climbing, we arrived at our destination: another beautiful alpine lake with crystal clear water and numerous waterfalls.
Since the sun was slowly starting to set, we decided to make our way back to camp. Once there, we finally saw some signs of life in the form of another guy and girl backpacking duo. This piqued by brother’s interest:
Let’s hope that they’re brother and sister too, so I can just trade with him for the night.
He’s so protective of me, but alas, they disappeared up the trail.
We watched the last faint glow of orange disappear behind the peaks and decided to move to the tent. We planned a big second day and surmised that an early start was necessary. However, after seeing the night sky transform into something otherworldly, going to bed was postponed. The stars were amazing. I have never seen a sky that clear and vivid. It was awesome, but my attempts at photos didn’t quite turn out. I need a better camera. Finally, after watching the second shooting star streak across the abyss, I zipped myself up in my sleeping bag and fell asleep, ready for the next morning…
- Bring A LOT of sunscreen and bug spray.
- It gets pretty cold at night. I thought I was well prepared, but I still got a bit chilly.
- Setup camp in our location. It was by far the best in the area around Lower Missouri Lake. From the end of the trail, head down to the lake, look back and slightly to the left, spot a rocky hill and trees, go there, find a dry area, and prepare to be amazed.
- Backpacking in the Holy Cross Wilderness, Part I
- My Brother’s Chilean Adventure
- Road Trip: Iowa-Florida, Part II