Kel and I took a trip up to Zirkel for the first time ever with intentions to keep miles low and fish counts high. We settled on an area featuring a chain of large alpine lakes; from Rainbow to Upper Slide.

DSC05858Them tress got curves

DSC05864

Inlet to Middle Rainbow Lake

DSC05866

Middle Rainbow

DSC05871

Crossing the drift wood outlet of Rainbow to find camp.

DSC05877Sand beaches

DSC05886The access to this area is simple, and the huge scale of shoreline makes it easy to spread out and find solitude. Because of this we only saw two other groups of people along the lake on a Friday night and a Saturday morning.

DSC05888

Cutthroat

DSC05904

Sunsetish

DSC05922

 The next morning we continued hiking past the remainder of Rainbow and up the valley to Upper Slide. On our way we passed a group of  hikers outfitted by a talkative pack llama guide. I managed to squeeze some fishing intel out of him while I tried my best to deter him from complaining too much about how slow his trail-hiking clients were.

This region of Zirkel doesn’t boast the high peaks, at least none too dramatic by many standards. Its also a healthy three hour-plus drive from Denver. This combination alone ensures more than your typical standard of solitude in an area so fruitful.

DSC05930Upper Slide Lake

DSC05934

Slide Lake from the shelf near Upper Slide

DSC05942

Kel and I spent the remainder of that afternoon doing some fishing, napping (I did), and traveling back and forth between Upper Slide and Slide. We had made plans to meet up with some friends, however since they had been behind schedule, it had us eventually out searching, instead of waiting.

DSC05954

This was fun

DSC05960

Dry flies were killing it

DSC05961

Eventually Carrie and Brendan managed to find us. They brought a tenkara rod that they had never used before so I spent time teaching them.

DSC05973

Brendan silhouetted against the dusk water reflection of Slide Lake

DSC05999

Fish fever was cured within the hills of Zirkel. Many possibilities for high intensity trips, including longer miles exist here, and I will certainly be back to visit them.

DSC06002

Rainbow Lake Trail