Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Secret Lake

Fall in Rocky Mountain National Park can be a pretty hectic place. Thousands of tourists pour through the entrance stopping every twenty feet to take pictures. For this very reason, I opt for the higher ground and places where the crowds can’t or won’t go. With Barry's help, we found the perfect spot.

The “Secret Lake,” as those who wish it to remain as such call it, was our first stop. Only a four-hour hike off the beaten trail we made it to our campground by 3:00. Bringing along the fly rods and waders, Hannah and I spent the latter part of the afternoon fishing for native greenback cutthroats.

The night sky was so perfect it even made the Ramen Noodles taste good.

We prepared for two nights of camping, but foolishly we did not prepare for rain or snow. In the morning, after a frigid and restless night of sleep or lack there of, our breakfast was interrupted by dime-size chunks of hail. Unable to imagine a full day spent under the shelter of the tent, we packed up and took a different route via a much longer loop through some new territory.

After an hour of hiking, the weather cleared and I brought my camera out from its protective rain guard. For another six hours we hiked through quaking aspen groves, around waterfalls, and atop high ridgelines. Kissed by gentle drizzles, occasional flurries, and sporadic sunshine we ran the gauntlet of seasons in one day.

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