Monument & Trinidad Lakes


We managed to find some fantastic opportunities for photo shoots and new adventures. Yesterday alone we traveled up to Monument Lake as one continues along Highway 12. The lake is completely thawed and gorgeous in its beautiful clarity. When we first arrived the sky loomed dark and forboding, very gloomily casting doubts of great shots in our minds. A local suggested rich shots of mountains and lakes in Trinidad or Highway 12 as a potential need for themselves, so our mission remained locating these areas. Bailey lept and frolicked like we couldn’t believe, wading out into the lake itself as its crimson sands and soil emerged around the rocks and pines. It was pretty cold, only about 43 out with high gusts. Fish jumped to the surface repeatedly, creating the only break in sound as splashes of water rippled the water’s surface. Waiting, the blue skies pushed the clouds away and the enchanting blues of the lake shimmered beneath the sun’s rays.

Brent leapt at the opportunity for his camera though, savoring a time when he can go back with his fishing rod in hand. He took several pictures that will be featured soon in our galleries. The lake itself is open for fishing year round with a $3 daily use fee at a self service station. As we pulled in and prepared to pay there were no envelopes available for collection or a permit on the dash. Therefore, we kept our $3 out and ready, but proceeded into the resort. Normally, from mid May to mid September the resort booms with cabins, lodge, a restaurant, boat rentals, fishermen, RV and tent camping. All for the daily resort permit fee of $7. On this day, however, there was no other soul around. It made the wind hurrying through the trees and the occasional splashes of water as it lapped against rock and the sight of the gilled friends reaching the surface all so much more meaningful against the untouched, unhindered roar of nature’s sounds. The campground even allowed for a nice hike around, observing which campsite could be best on a return trip, nestled into the pines and scarlet dirt.

After leaving we journeyed back to the sunshine in Trinidad Lake State Park just about six miles from Trinidad and with a daily use fee of $7. Purchasing a park pass we started through Long’s Canyon to discover a hiking trail of about 1.25 miles round trip that led to a viewing blinds for wildlife. Further back up highway 12 we attempted to try Reilly Canyon but it was closed for road repairs. Finally, we turned in at Carpios Cove and explored the RV and Tent campground there. The visitor center was closed, but a few sites were filled with a campfire burning at even 4pm. Also in this area was a very nice picnic area where we determined we would warm up our brawts on the grill and have dinner while gazing from the overlook down across the lake where the town of Sopris once lay before the dam filled the valley with waters of the Purgatoire River, forming the reservoir known as Trinidad Lake.  Traveling across the dam, one also finds the south shore picnic area, boat ramp, and the Sunset Trailhead following the dam’s length.

The day would have been perfect if not for the harsh winds that kept the temperatures in the upper 40s but with a wind chill to freezing. Dark clouds rolled into the region again as the sun set. Potential snow showers loomed as we called it a day and headed home.


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