Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rocky Mountain National Park

Today I once again took off for Rocky Mountain National Park. Thankfully, the weather was much better today than it was when Jocelyn and I went! The morning was gloriously sunny, and the forecast was that it was supposed to be a warm day. Not at 12,000 feet, though! :)

My first stop was at Bear Lake. Laura suggested that I start here, since it tends to get pretty crowded later in the day. There is a 0.6 mile loop around Bear Lake. Since it's a pretty popular place, as well as a super easy trail, I figured I could walk it without fear of getting lost and stranded on the mountain. :)

Bear Lake

See the squirrel? He was definitely looking for food - and not afraid of humans!! 

I tried to go to another lake that was only a mile away, but I didn't make it. I'm guessing I made it about halfway, but I'm really not sure, because my distance perception was off today. Half a mile seemed like forever, and I was huffing and puffing, even though the hikes weren't that steep. Maybe the fact that I was at 9,500 feet had something to do with it? I ended up turning around and just coming back was a sad lesson in defeat. But I did get some pictures, so it wasn't a total loss.

I did, however, make it to Nymph Lake, which was only half a mile away from the Bear Lake trailhead. Even that felt like forever. How is it that I can run 2 miles, but walking half a mile on a mountain feels harder?? Clearly I'm more optimistic about the altitude than I like to think. :)

After I was done at Bear Lake, I headed up Trail Ridge Road. Jocelyn and I had driven almost halfway up while she was here. Unfortunately, it was an overcast day, so the views were not as great, and the upper portion of the road was closed. Today, however, it was open all the way through, so I went up over 12,000 feet. The views are absolutely incredible. The mountains are gorgeous, and it started snowing on the way up!

This first picture is the lookout point where Jocelyn and I were a couple weeks ago, when it was just a wall of white clouds.

Along the way I saw a couple of marmots...

...and an elk - just a lane away!

Up at the top, I stopped at the Trail Ridge Store. This turned out to be a very good idea - I found a charm for my charm bracelet, a sticker for my water bottle, and a t-shirt that says, "The Mountains are Calling - Therefore I Must Go" - and it was on clearance!

As I made my way out of the park, there were a bunch of cars stopped on the side of the road. Another elk! (Or a moose, not sure which...)

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