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Copper Basin Backcountry

July 14, 2010

My daughter couldn’t go back to California without getting out into the backcountry.  We loaded up the horses into the trailer and headed out to the Copper Basin.  A neighbor told us that Bellas Lake was not only gorgeous, but under a two-hour horseback ride in each direction.  After driving for an hour over washboard gravel road, we arrived at Bella’s Canyon.  We pulled the trailer into the shade, unloaded the pre-bug-sprayed horses and quickly tacked up to avoid being eaten ourselves.  The creek was raging  nearby, positive tidings for a full lake at the top. 

It was obvious that our borrowed horses knew of this trail.  We wound through increasing greenery, the meadows growing from mere tiny clearings to great expanses.  The meadows were fresh, wet and loaded with elk poop.  It is no wonder that the animals stay up in the high country with its abundant food and unlimited water.  The trail climbed at a gentle rate and as we entered yet another pristine green meadow, we saw a herd of male elk.  I called the dog over and stupidly tried to get my camera out.  During my fumbling to focus, one buck got sight of us and that was it, the group started to leave.  I couldn’t hide them from my dog any longer and off she went in hot pursuit.  Next time I will just enjoy the sight instead of trying to get a picture!

Me and Zephyr

A steep bowl rose up in front of us, patches of snow still hanging on and a waterfall tumbled down from one aspect.  The trail steepened and wound up next to the falling water and our horses hunkered down to make the climb.  We ended up on a forested mini plateau of sorts and beyond the line of trees, the aqua blue lake sparkled in the sun.  Dark green high country grasses covered a flat area directly adjacent to the incoming water from snow melt above on the rocky peaks.  It was perhaps the cleanest water I have ever seen.  Genavieve and I retrieved towels from the saddle bags, stripped off our clothing and jumped in the frigid lake.  It was fantastic.  There were no mosquitos.  We spread the towels on the soft tundra and basked naked in the sun.  The experience paled only to the fact of living the miracle of sharing it with my daughter.  We both realized in the moment, the sacred nature of doing the thing that brings you closest to your inner joy with a person that you love with such a mighty force.

Mother and Daughter

Bellas Lake

Zephyr, the little dog

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Genavieve permalink
    July 16, 2010 3:15 pm

    I had such an amazing trip! Words can’t even describe how wonderful it is there. I feel so lucky to be able to spend time like this with you mama.
    Love Gena

  2. Eva permalink
    July 16, 2010 5:44 pm

    Wow! It looks and sounds amazing. I am so happy you two got to share this week together, love you both!!

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