Elevation Gain: About 1000 feet
Highest Point: 10,640 ft at Hades Pass
Time: About five hours
General Impression: So beautiful! It was quiet, the scenery was incredible with grassy meadows, rocky trails, lovely trees and flowers, and pretty streams and views of the lakes in the area. A true gem!
All I can say about this one is WOW. Not only was the trail beautiful, but we felt great. We didn't tire and need to stop nearly as much as we did on our Lake Mary hike. So either we're slowly getting more fit, or we're slowly getting more used to the high altitude, or there's something else going on. Anyway, we both were feeling great and we loved every bit of this hike.
We had a later start than we intended (cooking and cleaning up breakfast at our Hades campsite took longer than we planned) and only got to the trailhead at around noon. Knowing we wanted to be back at our campsite well before dark, we had kind of a tight timeline on this hike. We set off, walking along the rocky trail (really, it was quite rocky) and feeling absolutely alone in this beautiful landscape. There was a small babbling brooke near the beginning of the trail and after that we didn't see any more water again until we reached Hades Pass and caught a view of the lakes.
We passed a few backpackers, making their way back down after an overnight stay, and exchanged very friendly hellos with them all. There were a couple of brave families with little children, but really not too many as the trail is not so easy to traverse.
It felt like we reached Hades Pass in no time, and then it took maybe another 45 minutes to get to Grandaddy Lake. We noticed campers and fishers set up all around the lake, but it was large and peaceful and we were able to find a couple of rocks to sit on to eat our picnic lunch of bread, cheese, and salami. I pumped us two bottles full of lake water and then we basically had to turn around and head back down immediately so as to avoid being too late on the mountain.
The hike down felt equally easy and fun, though we were both ready for it to be over and done with by the time we reached the car. It took about 5 hours, with pretty limited stopping, so I'd say this was our longest hike to date! We were really happy and excited about how good it felt and how pretty it was.
We give this hike four thumbs up!