On our last weekend in Boulder, Pat, Lauren, Jackie and I set our sights on the Indian Peaks wilderness- Rocky Mountain National Park's less-crowded neighbor to the south. The IPW is probably the most convenient wilderness area to get to from Boulder, but this was my first time out.
Our goal was the summit of Navajo peak, the range's third-highest. We hiked up the Pawnee pass trail from the Brainard lake rec area, past Long Lake and Lake Isabelle, and continued off-trail to the base of the Isabelle glacier. From here we worked our way to the scree gully below Navajo.
The wreckage of a C-47 airplane, which crashed here in 1948, lies scattered in the gully. One wing of the plane lies at the bottom, and the rest of the wreckage is located a 500-foot scree climb above, near where the gully reaches the Niwot ridge. We ascended this gully, past the airplane debris, to the ridgeline. The route then wraps around the back of Navajo and climbs to the summit. The scrambling was all pretty straightforward, though there are scary-looking precipices throughout.
The entire mountain was shrouded in fog while we were on it, so the drop-offs appeared to have no bottom and there was no view from the summit. Luckily, it did not rain, so we were spared another continuous cold shower such as the one we had on Longs a few weeks before. Lauren and I had some difficulty with the fog on the way down, while we were trying to find out how to get back to the ridge. Dramatically and seemingly instantly, the cloud lifted from the basin below us and revealed the ridge to our left. It literally changed from an opaque fog to airy sunshine in the span of a few seconds- which I thought was pretty cool.