While in Colorado a few months ago, I took the opportunity to do a quick overnighter into the rugged backcountry of the San Juans near Pagosa Springs. The destination was Quartz Lake, a pristine crater-type lake tucked into a broad grassy basin.
The hike was visually stunning, with wide vistas atop craggy ridges and wind-swept rock formations. The scenery varied from ponderosa pine forests to wide-open valleys above the tree line. The lake itself certainly lived up to its name and the peaceful setting was a wonderful break from the everyday.
I packed light and used a GoLite Eisenhower backpacking tent. It was super light and easy to set up. I would certainly not call it roomy, as I could only sit up in the very end by the door, but it was adequate for a fair weather quick trip. My MSR Whisperlite Stove handled the cooking easily and kept the pack from getting heavy.
Definitely a trip I would do again, even with a window of less than 24 hours for the overnighter. It can also be done as an ambitious day hike – though you will want to pack plenty of water or a filter pump.