Sunday, August 14, 2011

Girl's Weekend

Bethany and I have been dreaming about a hiking and horseback-riding trip to Rocky Mountain National Park since she moved out here last year. The first weekend in August, we finally made it happen. Just us girls, no kids, hiking our hearts out in the wilderness. It was the most wonderful trip, and made my heart happy just thinking about it all last week.

One of the most special treats was seeing a beautiful wild Columbine. I thought the season for them to bloom was long past, since my "tame" plants were done blooming in June. I think I scared Bethany because she didn't know what I was getting so excited about at first and thought it might be a bear! We just saw this lone plant along the trail to Timberline Falls, but the next day saw many more on a hillside along the Cache Le Poudre trail.

Bethany and I had wanted to hike to Timberline Falls on her visit two years ago, but after hauling a certain 25 lb. 9-month old 3 miles to Loch Vale, I was too tired to hike another mile. Turns out, it was a tough, steep trail in spots, so we definitely made the right decision. It made reaching our goal all the more sweet this time.

One of the prettiest places along the trail. Two streams converged and then separated again in a lush grove of green plants and flowers.

There was a lot more snow near the lake than two years ago.

Yes, there is my brave, crazy sister climbing all the way to the top of the falls. Do you see the trail? My point, exactly. Our guide book said the trail might be slippery from waterfall mist, but this trail was still very wet from snow melt even in August. And that glacier to the right didn't give us much room to maneuver. I ended up following Bethany up that trail, very slowly and carefully through the water.

This incredible view awaited us after our nerve-wracking climb. That lake is Loch Vale, about a mile below us. We ended up hiking 8 miles and being on the trail about 4 1/2 hours on Friday.

On Saturday, after our ride, we finally got to see some elk and it sure was a dramatic sighting. These young bulls were sparring on a snow field high in the tundra. The colors of the mountains and sky behind them and the snow flying beneath their hooves was breath-taking. Definitely a rare and incredible sight.

Our horseback ride on Saturday morning was great. The highlight of the two-hour ride was seeing a moose in Sprague Lake. My horse got bitten on the rear by the horse behind him and did a little hop and buck, but other than that our ride was relaxing and uneventful.

On Saturday, we also drove through the park to Grand Lake. We hiked some on the west side of the park on the Cache Le Poudre river trail. There were lots of wildflowers and pretty green hillsides as far as we could see. If we had a little more bug spray to keep the mosquitos away, it would have been perfect. We had a nice lunch in Grand Lake on the boardwalk watching the sailboats and then headed back to the Springs and real life. We will have lots of memories and great pictures to treasure until next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment