Sunday, November 14, 2010

Glacier Gorge/Boulder Brook

Today I dragged Dan up to the mountains. Since last weekend, someone flipped the switch to winter. Last weekend we were climbing in 70+ degree weather, today we were freezing in 20 degrees, wind, and snow. It was gorgeous, though, to see winter settle in to Rocky Mountain National Park.

We parked at the Glacier Gorge Trail head with the intent of following the trail 4 miles to Black Lake, about a mile from the back side (west side) of Longs Peak. However, in our excitement we took the wrong trail. We kept waiting for the trail to turn to the right, but it never did. By the time we pulled out the map, we decided to just keep going and make a loop to the Glacier Gorge Trail.

We were breaking trail in anywhere from 2-12 inches of snow for the first 2.5 miles and also when we got to the Boulder Brook Trail (another 2 miles), and the North Longs Peak Trail (2 more miles). It was beautiful seeing the ice forming on the creeks and the snow coming down everywhere. We thought we might try to go off trail and summit Half Mountain, but by the time we got there, it was too late to attempt such a feat.

We finally got to the Glacier Gorge trail and decided to head down it a ways before going back to the car. We got to Mills Lake before turning around. It was very icy on the trail and Dan and I took turns falling. It didn't seem icy enough to warrant microspikes--just a few spots. We returned to the car nearly 7 hours after we started our 10.5 mile tour.

On the way home, we drove through Estes Park and noticed the elk were still on the golf course. We drove another half mile down the road and there were dozens and dozens of elk everywhere, probably at least a hundred. They were crossing the road, making squealing noises, and generally running and doing elk-type things (sniffing each other's bottoms and the like).

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