NaBloPoMo – Day 10 – The Maroon Bells Don’t Tintinnabulate But They Are Beautiful

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22559 – 872

Here’s the haps:

We dropped the intrepid explorers off at the park at the bottom and saw them off. Their backpacks were packed in the most efficient manner possible for a 3-day trek into the wilds. About the only “frivolous” items were the 2 plastic glasses (I know that’s an oxymoron but that’s what I call them anyway) hanging from the back for when they were going to imbibe a non-alcoholic beverage, an orange electrolyte drink made from powder and filtered stream water. It’s vital to your life to have a good filtering system because of several reasons, one being a nasty, nasty parasite called Giardia. When we first moved to Colorado I heard about it from some Boy Scout leader training. I also knew a guy who, when he first got here, went up into the mountains and saw one of the beautiful, pristine-looking mountain streams and took a long drink. What happened to him when he developed Giardiasis was not pretty and he wound up in the hospital. This post isn’t about that but the Mayo Clinic has an article here that describes it. My point being that if you are going in the mountains take a good filtering system. Another, possibly easier method is to boil the water at a full rolling boil for 3 – 5 minutes then allow it to cool.

The rule when camping in an area like this, well, not just like this but camping anywhere it’s not developed, e.g., no trashcans, “Pack it in, pack it out.” There should be no sign that anyone was ever in that spot. The trail they intended to take took them too far into ice and snow to be safe with only the equipment they had so they stopped and turned back which was the reasonable and intelligent thing to do. This may sound strange for the middle of summer but at that altitude and in that rough terrain it makes sense.

After they were gone we took some pictures of Maroon Lake and the surrounding park area. There was evidence of beaver activity both past and present but we didn’t see any. I expect that when the area is closed to the public from late fall to late spring and there aren’t as many people around is when they come around an area like this.

The park and lake were beautiful. here’s some of the scenery we enjoyed (clicking on a picture should make it larger).

Of course, this park had toilets but I just can’t help but worry about civilization as a whole when you need an instruction sign:

A couple of days later it was time to drive back up again and take the explorers home. I wanted to stop and look at something on the way back which I had seen on the way down the first time. We all agreed it sounded interesting and that is coming up in the next and final installment of the Maroon Bells Hike.


  1. I don’t think I’d ever really “sit” on one of those toilets. Looks like a wonderful hike, with some great views…

    thanks for the warning about the stream water…

  2. I think they may get some international hikers here, who are used to stand up toilets. We saw similar instructions on the Bullet train in Japan in 1982 and took a photo of them there. Looks like a great place for a hike, sans snow. Allan

  3. I googled Giardia and it sounds like something serious. Does this mean one can’t even swim in those clear clear waters? They look so clean and so fresh. I am not surprised that Giardia is detected in Hudson river since it doesn’t look that clean at all. ..

    • Swimming or bathing in it is risky because if you get even a little bit in your mouth it could be awful. My friend was in the hospital for a couple of days. In these cases it’s because the wild animals defecate in or near the stream.

  4. I got a taste of how drastically the weather changes with altitude when we drove to the summit of Mt. Evans. It was in the mid 90s in Denver and in the mid 30s at the summit – we had not brought coats and could only stay outside for a few minutes.

    Lovely scenery.

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