After a gorgeous drive down the Big Thompson River Canyon to Loveland, where we got provisions, had a wonderful fellowship meeting, we drove back up and into Rocky Mountain National Park, directly to our campsite at Glacier Basin. That evening, after a campfire dinner of more corn and pork stir fry, relaxing in our screened shade tent, we enjoyed a ranger talk on beavers.
Up early the next morning to the Glacier Peak Trailhead, passing two bull elk alongside the road.
The trail wound up through the trees to Alberta Falls,
then through more woods and alongside the hillside, where we saw the first signs of the aspen turning golden. Squirrels and chipmunks were busy gathering food for winter.
Lots of big rocks to hike up and over, and then we arrived at Mills Lake, with the view opening to surrounding mountain peaks and glaciers.
Again, we felt like we could go further, so hiked alongside the lake, up a little hill, and then came to our lunch spot at the far side of that lake. Not much further, was Jewel Lake, so we went on to that beautiful little jewel. Smoked salmon with cream cheese on Asiago bagels was our lunch treat.
On the way back out we saw two mother elk with three babies.
7:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. hike, traveled 6.4 miles and about 800 ft. elevation gain.
Tuesday, we took a ranger’s advice, and walked from our campground across the road to the park and ride, where we caught a shuttle up to the Bear Lake trailhead. Our destination was Bierstadt Lake, and coming down to the Bierstadt Lake trailhead, meant mostly downhill, which was a good thing we discovered, as we descended on switchbacks down a steep mountainside!
Beautiful views as we walked along the south side of Bear Lake, then the rocky steps began up through the forest. The trail leveled off with minor ups and downs to Bierstadt Lake, which was a serene grass surrounded lake with ducks, and mountains towering on most sides, complete with several glaciers. We didn’t meet a soul on the way, between the lakes, but did see a couple up at the lake.
We relaxed for quite a while just enjoying the peaceful scenery on rocks, then went to the other side of the lake to eat our lunch, before heading down the hillside.
We moved our lounge chairs up into the shade of the pines, and had a very relaxing afternoon, followed by a ranger talk about mountain lions. We were able to identify with much of what she shared, since we had lions living behind us on the hill in Poncha Springs!
Wednesday is a ‘day off’, and we are down at the visitor’s center, where we can get WiFi, and check in on our phones. Yup, Denis had a call for a new house design…. More Texas folks. We saw a movie called “Wilderness, Wildlife, and Wonder”, which was created for the 100 year anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park, and I can only say “I agree!” Three more hikes are scheduled for the next three days, as we head back into Moraine Park Campground.