The Lonesome drainage had always been one which escaped my feet. I have always traveled, not purposely, around it.

A view to the crown of the valley

The forecast for the three days that Tanner and I would be out wasn’t terribly optimistic for dry weather. With a chance of it being borderline miserable out, we went anyway. Rain that lingered all afternoon halted as we hit the five-mile trail to Isolation Lake that evening. It was Labor day weekend, but we had yet to see evidence of it; not a soul in sight.

Just as we had set up camp, spitting rain turned to a full downpour for the remainder of the evening.


First rays of sunlight from the warm confine of my tent the following morning. I watched the adjacent hillside as deer moved like ghosts in the early light.


Inches of rain had accumulated the night prior.

Coloradans begin to feel jaded without sunlight for too long – a rejoice when it did finally appear again.


To make up for the lack of mileage traveled on this trip, we took to climbing nearby peaks, ridges and other off trail pursuits as we made our way down to Upper Homestake Lake.


Tanner on the long scramble up to the crown that surrounds Lonesome Lake



Lonesome Lake, unnamed peak (12,734′) and the valley below


Homestake Reservoir (photo left), and a small unnamed tarn in the Lonesome valley

After reaching the summit of the unnamed peak and watching ptarmigan wade their way through the boulder field, we dropped the steep west shoulder to Upper Homestake.


Upper Homestake Lake – au natural


The use (or lack thereof) of camps surrounding the lake becomes evident. This lush fire ring sat in prime position on the north shore.


Waiting for another round of showers to come passing through

The clouds rolled and sped their way across our peripheral. Drizzle and sometimes heavy rain came and went until the last couple hours of sunlight that evening. At last the wind died, and the lake turned to near glass. I sat on the shore and enjoyed the moment, knowing that 2015 summer evenings in the backcountry are dwindling quickly.


Near dusk


Blue Mountain Gentian


We decided it best to shoot for a slightly different route on our way back to Lonesome.


Straddling county lines and the Continental Divide. Mount Massive with a fresh dusting of snow sits behind.



Beautiful ptarmigan still bearing summer coats


Two of them