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Created 12-Aug-10
Modified 12-Aug-10
Visitors 32
78 photos
August long weekend backpacking trip. Original plans blew up like so much 40 year old knee cartilage so I swung on with a more or less Club Tread inspired group. Hank and I did this route over five days in 2008 (yeah I’ll load the pics here maybe this winter) but in the opposite direction. A favorite area with random camping in the alpine, Owen Creek gorge, cascades, several high passes, and several stunning lakes. I didn’t shoot as much as I planned to but there are a few ‘keepers’ here.


Group consisted of Davin & Erin with their dog Korby plus Darren & Steve who came as far as Michele lakes with us before returning the same way due mostly to getting beat up too bad in the Owen Creek parkour. At Pinto Lake towards the end of Day two we picked up Clint & Clayton & their dog who had missed the turn to Sunset Pass & were glad of some company. Otherwise we only saw a few heli-fishermen at Michele lakes & two groups of two backpackers traveling in the opposite direction. This route is more defined than it was in 2008 but is still very remote.

Day 1: Owen Creek Trailhead to Michele Lakes
Distance: 13.2 km
Elevation gain (to unnamed pass): 1060 m
Elevation loss (to Michele Lakes): 125 m
The controlled burn east of Owen Creek touched the creek in a few places and the charred downed trees caused some grief as did the route which at times borders on scrambling. I enjoyed the gorge, the cascades further up, the wildflowers, & the view down from the ramps onto Michele Lakes.

Day 2: Michele Lakes to Sunset Pass
Distance: 18.5 km
Elevation gain: 1010 m
Elevation loss: 1150 m
I double checked the stats, this felt like more elevation. Three pass day, unfortunately due to a later than ideal start time we couldn’t visit the point above Michele Lakes (a favorite from last time) but camping above Pinto lake instead made this a sound choice. Wonderful alpine hiking. We ate dinner at Pinto lake before tackling the last 350m or so of elevation & my carcass did not like shouldering the pack for that push. I just found a nice low gear & ground it out.

Day 3: Sunset Pass to Trailhead
Distance: 8.2 km
Elevation loss: 700 m
Camping on the ledges above Pinto gave us full sun in the morning & great views down into the valley. It also gave us a relatively light day thru the willowy meadows & down to the cars at the Sunset Pass trailhead. Pizza in Rocky with Erin & Davin really hit the spot. A great trip, glad to repeat it again someday & I’ll travel again with crew anytime.
Owen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekSteve photographs the burned forest along Owen CreekFireweed in the burned area along Owen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekOwen CreekIndian Paintbrush along Owen CreekCresting out of Owen Creek towards the first passErin, Davin & Korby press on