Rocky Mountain National Park – July 20th, 2014

After yesterdays 10 miles of hiking, Grandpa and the girls were done for the weekend. Fortunately, Grandpa agreed to take the girls to Estes for the day while Sara and I went to hike to Chasm Lake at the foot of Long’s Peak. We broke camp, had breakfast early and got to the trailhead before 8 AM. The parking lot was completely full as this is the most popular trail in the park due to all the people climbing Long’s Peak. It usually fills up the night before with hikers who sleep in their vehicles to begin the 15 mile, 5000 feet up trip to the summit of Longs at 3 or 4 AM. We’ll have to make that trip some other time.

The trail begins right next to the Long’s Peak ranger station and starts off with a gentle uphill walk through the forest. Eventually you come to this waterfall, which you have to cross at the top using a wooden foot bridge.

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Shortly after you pass the waterfall, you leave the trees and head into alpine tundra. By this point in the trail we had hiked about 2.5 miles and 1500 feet up. The best part of the hike was about to begin.

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The views of Long’s (right) and Mount Meeker (left) dominated the approach to the lake.

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Getting closer to our destination, you can see the trail becomes quite rocky and loose.

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Getting a closer look at the headwall that holds Chasm Lake above us and the waterfall from it that feeds another lake lower down.

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Once we climbed up the headwall, we reached our destination. The view here is stunning, the picture does not do it justice. You practically have to strain your neck to look up to the top of Long’s Peak.

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While eating our lunch we had some inquisitive visitors:

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On our way down we took a short side trip to the patrol cabin in the area. Very nice construction. Park Rangers have the best accommodations in the backcountry it seems. Really a beautiful location with nice views and a great cabin.

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After a long hike down we drove to Lyons to meet our newest family member. Heather chose her out of a litter of 8 puppies. Meet Hazel, she comes home in about three weeks. We can’t wait.

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