Alternatives to Hiking: An Afternoon at Navajo Lake

I don’t remember how Tom, Terry, and I concluded we’d hike around Navajo Lake – Terry and I had hiked the complete loop in early fall 2015 and enjoyed it – but it wasn’t such an outstanding trail that either Terry or I were chomping at the bit to return during our visit. It’s a perfectly lovely walk however so once we were there none of us were complaining about it; in fact, the day we set off to hike the north side the lake looked really, really lovely, the prettiest of blues in the depths and the clearest of waters in the shallows. So lovely in fact that we unanimously decided to delay the hike in order to appreciate the beauty of the day – sitting on the tailgate with a 6-pack picked up from the camp store.

But loafers we are not: After sitting for a half hour enjoying the views we got down to the business of taking a walk. Picking up the loop at the southwestern end, we walked across the grassy flats into the aspen, grateful for the shade on the unseasonably hot afternoon. Though we would usually welcome the breaks in the trees for the opportunites for views, that day it was almost the opposite as we darted from tree cover to tree cover trying to void overheating under the vigorous sun. About 3 miles later we reached the far end of the lake and the beginning of the lava field which signaled our time to turn around. Unlike our previous hike traversing the broken lava of the Hancock Peak Trail, this lava field consists of many smaller rocks and can be kind of sucky to cross, really only worth it if it’s the season for wild raspeberries. Since however it was a good 6 weeks before raspberry season we opted for a short dip in the water instead before returning the way we came, appreciating the tall spruce and the broad, leafy canopy provided by the aspen.