Rocky Mountain National Park

Posted September 17, 2007

Category: Adventures

On September 11th I went to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is about a 70 mile drive from Brighton to the Park. Half of the drive was on flat roads but then I entered the mountains. The mountain roads were constantly curving and steep. What I say is that it takes a good transmission to get up the mountains and good brakes to come down. In the photo below I am entering into the mountain domain.

Within the mountains is the classic mountain town of Estes Park. There is a big lake and mountains surrounding the town. The photo below was taken as I traveled over the lake and into the downtown area of the city. Rocky Mountain National Park is just a few miles outside of Estes Park.

The portion of the Park I went to was one of the main attractions of the park which is Bear Lake. There is a trail that goes completely around the lake with various scenic views of the lake and mountains. The weather was perfect on this day. Clear blue skies and mild. Bear Lake is at an elevation of 9,475 feet.

Below is another of the scenic photos while walking around the lake.

There are various hiking trails that lead away from the lake and up into higher elevations and to areas with scenic views. I followed the trail to go up Flattop mountain which has an elevation of 12,300 feet. It is a 4.4 mile hike from Bear Lake to the top of Flattop Mountain. I started up the trail. They are not called the Rocky Mountains for nothing. There are pebbles, rocks and boulders everywhere.

There are plenty of evergreen trees. At some points though I could see mountain views out in the distance as I hiked to higher elevations. The photo below is one of those views.

The trail was very rocky. I was constantly having the step on all sorts of rocks thus making it harder than walking on a flat paved surface. As I climbed higher I could feel the influence of the lighter air. My heart was beating fast and I was having to breath like I was running.

I forgot one of the essentials for hiking which is water. I was getting thirsty and tired but I kept going. I came to a clearing that had this beautiful view of a lake far below.

As I got higher the trees started thinning out. They were getting shorter and smaller. This made it easier to see the surrounding mountains in all directions.

By this point I would say I was at an elevation of over 11,000 feet. Once I got above the tree line the temperature became noticeably colder. I was my own balloon sounding.. a Skew-T Log-Haby. At the higher elevations the wind was stronger. With the cold and windy conditions I needed a wind breaker which I did not have. Below is a panorama above the tree line. It is a Colorado Rocky Mountain high!

I continued higher. The peak seemed close but as I continued higher it seemed to get no closer. With no trees and less vegetation, what was left was lots of rocks. I continued up the rocky trail.

Here is a view of just how rocky it is. At this point I had had enough. I was tired, thirsty, and the wind and chill were really kicking in. I decided to head back. Next time I come I will be more prepared. I will bring water, a jacket and arrive a little earlier so that I can make it all the way to the top.

I was not just mile high Haby. On this occasion I was double that. Introducing... TWO miles high Haby. Yep, here I am at an elevation of over 2 miles high. I took this photo holding the camera out with my hand.

I made my way down the trail. It was much easier going down although I had to be careful where I stepped due to all the rocks. In all I did about 6 miles of hiking. My legs were sore for two days after but it was worth it. I will for sure come back again and next time I will make it all the way to the top!