I thought I would switch up my routine this year and do something different to celebrate the day of my birth. I wanted to climb a mountain. All told, it was a pinnacle bday for me this year and I didn’t think a party was how I wanted to celebrate. Enter Loch Vale Trail.
Weeks before our trip to Colorado I spent time scouring through a book with more information on trails, lake, lochs, and vales than I will ever need. I found a picture of a beautiful lake in Rocky Mountain National Park called ‘Sky Pond”. I turned over in bed and showed my husband saying with certainty- “There. That’s where we are going for my birthday.”
So, we cooked a campfire breakfast of potatoes and eggs, drove into Estes Park for ‘real’ coffee and then set out across the snow in search of Sky Pond. If you have been following my adventures on this blog you will already know that it was REALLY snowy in colorado this year. The snow makes everything slow going and more tiresome. Our first big feature was Alberta Falls (picture above). The glacier melt was just rushing over the rocks. I took a variety shots where the water was stop motion and splashing, but I love the slower shutter speed waterfall photos where the rushing water looks soft and ribbony.
There are no pictures of the biggest hill I ever climbed because I was sucking wind the entire time. But it was a biggie, let me tell you. An. Absolute. Killer. On the way back I gave up completely and slid down on my rain coat. Who says I have to grow up? This was what we saw as we reached the top and rounded the corner.
As we sat there munching on granola and apples enjoying the view of the loch vale and the lake, a couple of fellow hikers arrived and sat nearby. One of the girls proceeded to take off her winter coat and JUMP IN THE LAKE! Ok, so the trail is about 3 miles one way from trailhead to finish. IN THE SNOW. Yes, hiking makes you warm, I get that, and yes, the sun is hot- I get that, but jumping into a glacier pool is not smart when you have no blankets or dry clothes and you have to hike 3 miles through the snow back to your car. Her friend shouted at her to get out the lake. Her response? Take a photo with her cell phone. Risking hypothermia for likes on Facebook? C’mon now! I seriously hope she made it down the mountain.
So, we never actually made it to Sky Pond. The hill before Loch Vale completely wiped us out. That’s ok. Now I have a reason to go back.
Sonic the hedgehog is a cute little hedgehog that fights the evil animal cruelist Dr. Robotnik in the famed Sega genesis video game. For those of you that haven’t had the privilege of collecting rings via this little fellow, I will just tell you that at the end of each level he jumps on a container and a trove of little wilderness creatures scamper back to their homes in the forest. Where do these refugees go, I have often asked myself. Well, Rocky Mountain National Park is the answer.
These critters were NOT afraid of people. They sent me and the other children who merely stopped for a moment to gently catching their breath after long upward climbs, into screeching fits. The brave just tested the little creatures’ fortitude- and clearly they have gotten over their imprisonment under Dr.Robotnik quite easily – now finding their woods filled with food dropping people.
Its a bit of bummer that this photo didn’t turn out as clear as I would have hoped. This little bear was eating this cookie like it just got it out of the kitchen cupboard. It was not shy, or at all really phased that it was eating such an extraordinary delicious snack!