Within the Arapaho National Recreation Area, the Willow Creek Reservoir is located about two miles west of Lake Granby where its outflow is pumped into the Colorado River. The reservoir sits in the Willow Creek basin and captures the run off from the surrounding mountains. The creek itself begins in Northwest Grand County deep into the Arapahoe National Forest near Willow Pass and the continental divide. One of the many great things about paddling on the Willow Creek Reservoir is there are no motorized boats of any sort allowed.
The scenery is somewhat diverse, with gently rolling mountains, some covered in pine and aspen trees while other areas more resemble a desert covered in sage brush starving for water. This day, however, we came upon something new (and unfortunate). Along the sagebrush side, we noticed three large white objects on shore. There are three American White Pelicans, one of which appeared to have an injured wing. Stella was desperate to assist, but I had to remind her of the circle of life. Reluctantly, she looked away and resumed paddling with a note of sadness on her face.
Sunday we headed out to the east end of the Grand Lake and the East Inlet Trailhead to Adams Falls. Adams Falls is literally just a half mile from the trailhead. The falls cuts violently through a canyon in a spectacle only nature can provide. The East Inlet Creek begins well to the east deep into Rocky Mountain National Park near Pyramid Peak. As the creek winds it way westward, it flows into several Alpine Lakes beginning with Fifth Lake, Fourth Lake, Spirit Lake, Lake Verna and Lone Pine Lake. The trek to Spirit Lake is an out and back, just shy of 15 miles with a 2700 foot elevation gain and is the terminal end of the trail.
No weekend is complete without mentioning Aspen. Saturday we took her for a quick but short hike on the Colorado River Trail and a swim in Shadow Mountain Lake. She was able to spend time swimming in her favorite spot. However, Saturday’s session was cut short as a bull moose and a cow began milling about near our swimming hole. Aspen seemed a bit confused as to why we were leaving so soon. Fortunately, we always attach a long rope to her harness while she is swimming.
On Sunday, Aspen was able to spend the morning swimming without interruption, retrieving her water ball each time as if it were never going to end. I do want mention a special sighting Friday night just as we finished unpacking for the weekend. A female moose and her calf wandered nearby to feed on the succulent willows that are abundant throughout the campground. This sighting was a first for Stella and I, as we have never seen such a small calf. Additional photos can be found under the photos tab.