Indian Peak Wilderness
Amy and Augie near the Summit of Audubon
On July 09, we left our camp at Olive Ridge and drove south twenty miles to Brainard Lake Recreation Area to access the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Since our last visit to Indian Peaks, the Brainard Lake Area had a major face lift. There was new traffic flow patterns, new parking areas, and new buildings. We hardly recognized the area and almost turned into the Day Use Parking Area by mistake. After correcting our navigation error, we continued around Brainard Lake and on to Mitchell Lake Trailhead Parking. Two major trails use the parking area - Mitchell Lake and Beaver Creek. Arriving before 7 on a weekday we were able to find a parking space, but the limited parking was filling fast.
From the trailhead, we would take the Beaver Creek Trail to the Mount Audubon Trail and then the Mount Audubon Trail to the summit of Mount Audubon, 13,223 feet. This would be our one year old, Golden Retriever, Augie Doggie's first big mountain. Audubon a Class 2 climb and rated as difficult hike for humans.
Several years ago we had climbed Mount Audubon with Jake, our beloved dog. He did great on the climb but he was four years old at the time. Augie was still pretty much a puppy for his attempt.
Longs Peak to the North
Following the trail, we slowly climbed through treeline and into the alpine tundra. Augie found the hiking easy but he did not enjoy hiking on a leash. Instead, he wanted to run free so that he could chase birds, marmots, and pica. He wanted to personally greet every other hiker and allow them the opportunity to pet him and possibly give him a treat. In the Wilderness Area though, dogs are supposed to be on a lead at all times.
As we climbed it grew cold and windy. The temperatures were uncomfortable for us. Finally, we stopped and added an insulation layer and said, 'why didn't we do that before?' The final climb to the summit gave us even stronger winds across the scree (small loose rocks) slope.
Summit of Mt Audubon
Just below the summit, we noticed a bit of blood on one of Augie's paws. I held Augie as Amy tended to his sore pad. She then told me to go on to the summit as she thought he had had enough. I hated to go to the summit alone, but I knew that she was right. We needed him to be strong and healthy for the whole trip and Audubon was about 100 feet too much! Amy put on the pup's RuffWear boots as I scurried to the summit and returned.
Wearing his boots, Augie danced down the mountains. He wore the boots until we were below treeline and on a mostly dirt trail. There was no more damage to his pads.
We had a great hike and it was fun to be back on the Audubon. Augie's paws were fine, they just needed a day of rest and a bit of salve. We will be a bit quicker to the draw in pulling out the boots on the next mountain hike.
Happy Audubon trails