Distance: 0.6 mi (1 km) on-trail one-way; 1.1 mi (1.8 km) overall one-way
Elevation gain: 480 ft (146 m) to lake; 940 ft (287 m) to peak
Location: east of Aspen, Colorado
Date: August 18, 2012
West of the 12,095 foot high Independence Pass on Colorado Route 82 is a trailhead for two trails in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness of White River National Forest. Both trails follow the same path for about 0.2 miles until the Linkins Lake Trail turns up the side of the valley while the Lost Man Trail continues through the valley towards Independence Lake.
I began my hike at 11:00 am under clear skies, and the trail begins alongside the Roaring Fork River, but soon turns away. The trail is fairly steep for most of its length but becomes steeper after the trails split. The trail soon reaches the lake basin where it levels off before reaching the lake itself after a few hundred feet. Much of the trail is above tree line or out of the way of the sparse trees that are present.
Because the trail is only 0.6 miles long, I decided to continue on a little-used path that went up the mountain to the south of the lake. This path was much steeper than the official trail, but it had excellent views of the lake and surrounding mountains. I continued on up the path until I reached a small abandoned mine near the top of the peak. The mine appeared to have been fairly unproductive because there were very few tailings. While I did not go inside the mine (something no one should ever do), the interior appeared to not have collapsed while although the exterior was in poor shape.
After visiting the mine I continued on up to the top of the small peak at an elevation of 12460 feet. I was surprised when I reached the top I was surprised by the large relatively flat area. Because of the smoke that was still being blown in from the west, my view was limited but was still very good.
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