68 images Attendees: Tim Drescher, Steve Elder, Ken Christie, Gil Barker, Brad Benz, Dan Barrese, Terry Swenson, Steven Alberico, Adam Willett (USFS), and Mark Steinbrecher (USFS)
From the Sopris trailhead we packed in on a windy Friday afternoon and immediately setup two separate camps near Brady Lake. There are not a lot of good options for good group campsites in this area. After setting up camp and eating lunch, we spent the afternoon at Brady Lake. Here we destroyed 10 fire rings and logged 15 campsites. We installed 'icebergs' or big boulders in a very flat area right next to Brady Lake that had been used as a camp on many occasions. This process involved digging holes and placing boulders / anchoring them into the ground so that it would discourage people from camping there illegally.
On Saturday we split the group into two. One of the groups hiked off-trail all the way to some lakes over a pass that required some mild class 3 scrambling at times. We saw a herd of goats on the way there and on the way back. When we reached the lake our group took a break for lunch and did some fishing as brook trout swam all over the lake. Here we logged 23 campsites and destroyed 9 fire rings. Adam Willett carried about a 15 pound fire grate out from a campsite at this lake and packed it all the way out. The other group stayed near Brady and Sopris lakes and cleared 3 drainage bars, and 'ice-berged' 5 different campsites. They encountered and engaged 22 day hikers in 4 different groups and also encountered 3 overnight backpackers.
On Sunday we encountered way more fire rings than we had really anticipated at Sopris lake and encountered one campsite that was left with food trash including a head of lettuce, an entire cucumber and half-eaten burrito. Near this campsite we also noticed another fire grate of some sort that was at the bottom of the lake. Brad Benz volunteered and jumped into the freezing cold water of Sopris Lake to retrieve it! We logged 18 campsites and destroyed 12 fire rings. We packed out 20 total pounds of trash during this trip, with the fire grate near Paradise being the biggest object. On the hike out on Sunday we placed stepping stones at the water crossing for the trail up to Brady Lake. There is a large social trail that goes directly up to Sopris Lake that is illegal and needs to be decommissioned in the near future. When the USFS has slashed this social trail in the past people have simply cleared the trail and continue to use it. We (or the USFS) need to install a 'trail' sign with a directional arrow, then spend some time fully slashing this trail. I think that with a big enough group this could get accomplished in a day.