Shelf Lake

Friday after work I gathered with some friends to camp in Pike National Forest. We found some incredible dispersed camping along Geneva Creek Road and I was very thankful for my Jeep, which handled roads that were sketchy enough to rupture my water containers (2 of them!) and involved one creek crossing.

Saturday we went on a quick day hike to Shelf Lake which is three miles each way and has a 2,000 foot elevation gain. Honestly, the elevation gain didn’t bother me too much and while I was expecting a strenuous hike, I’d label this as a moderate one. The views were pretty spectacular and we got lucky with perfect weather and bright blue skies.

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This is what birthday celebrations look like in Colorado

While at the lake, we had three dogs with us who were having a great time swimming while their humans basked in the sun and took a snack break. Suddenly, Chomper, the 85 pound Belgian Shepherd, yelped and began running towards us, covered in blood. He had severely lacerated a back leg and a front leg. It was unclear what happened, maybe a broken glass or sharp rock? Luckily, as always, we were prepared for injury in the backcountry and were able to bandage him up. We were hopeful that he would be able to make it three miles down, but he pretty quickly opted to stop and lay down (notable for a one year old dog). Here were our three phases of evacuation.

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Phase 1. Dog dad carries large dog baby

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Phase 2. Insert dog into backpack and use straps as hand holds to carry

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Phase 3. Use larger muscles to carry the dog. Please note the pro wrapped back foot and sock liner protection

We all made it down safely and the views certainly helped.

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We landed at camp where we did a better job of getting Chomper cleaned up and rewarded ourselves with some hard-earned whiskey and dinner. There is something so awesome and so bonding about a long day on the trail capped off with a campfire, s’mores (with peanut butter cups!), warm drinks, and a guitar sing along. I can’t think of any other way I’d rather spend a weekend with friends.

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