Yesterday Kevin’s cousin Mark, his wife, Dolly and their 20 year old son, Daniel came for a visit. They live in a suburb of Denver and were kind enough to drive 1-1/2 hours to come see us.
Mark and his boys are avid hikers and outdoorsmen. We decided to take a hike in the Bear Lake area of RMNP. Mark told us he’d choose a trail that wouldn’t be too strenuous. We took the trail to The Loch. This trail is 6.2 miles roundtrip with an increase in elevation of 990 feet. If you figure one story of an office building is 10 feet, that would be the equivalent of walking up 99 stories. The Loch at the end of the trail was worth it. What an amazing view. It’s a crystal clear lake surrounded by mountains with Andrews Glacier visible on the side of one of the mountains. It was so nice to rest for a while and enjoy the spiritual essence of the place. There isn’t a cathedral in the world that could compare for a Sunday visit. We could have continued on the trail to a lake at the base of the glacier. It would have been only an extra 2 miles with another 700 foot increase in elevation. Instead we decided to go back. We appreciated the fact that Mark chose a trail where we could push ourselves a little, but we’re not crazy :)
Unfortunately, I forgot my camera. Luckily, Mark and Dolly brought theirs and will be emailing me a few pictures they took for us. I’ll post them as soon as I get them. I’m really glad we did the hike. It was a bit strenuous, but the exercise felt great and the payoff was an awesome reward. Both Kevin and I believe our knees are actually feeling better after a few days of hiking.
I’m loving my new Merrell hiking shoes. The trail yesterday was quite rocky, and I’m sure the bottoms of my feet would have been quite miserable in tennis shoes. I highly recommend the Merrell’s for anyone planning on doing any hiking.
The weather has been phenomenal. Highs have been in the 80s and nighttime lows in the 40s. We have noticed a definite difference in the weather due to the altitude. The sun feels more intense and seems brighter. Once the sun goes down, the temperatures drop like a rock. It’s been sunny every day, and we just couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. And the star viewing at night is incredible!! An added bonus is no mosquitoes and no flies :)
Something that is very noticeable in RMNP are the amount of dead pine trees. The park is suffering from a pine beetle epidemic. I would guess 50% of the pine trees in certain areas are dead. It’s due to the average temperatures being higher than average for the past 10 years and prolonged periods of low precipitation. It’s considered a natural phenomenon, but it’s sad to see so many dead trees. I’m guessing there will come a time when a fire will destroy much of the dead wood. You can see all of the brown dead trees in the picture.
We’re off to do some more hiking today, and I won’t be forgetting my camera!
Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!