Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Rockies and Rocky Mountain Natl Park

Friday night we took advantage of some afternoon T-Storms that cooled the temps off and went to a Rockies game with Chris & Molly. The Rockies got shutout, only had 5 hits, but the weather was magnificent and we had a good time regardless of the outcome. Coors Field is a cool place to take in a game, especially on a nice night like last evening.

Today we got a bit of a late start after somehow managing to sleep in till 8 a.m., which is about 1.5 hours longer than most Saturdays. We ended up deciding to head up to Rocky Mountain National Park and explore a new trail.

We set out to hike to Timberland Falls above The Loch, about an 8-9 mile hike with quite a bit of elevation gain. We started just below the Glacier Gorge trailhead and hiked up and started on our way. We encountered some groups of people near Alberta Falls (pic below), but we really didn't have any trouble making our way through the increasing summer crowds.

After Alberta Falls you continue on the same path as Mills Lake, before the trail splits and goes west to The Loch and continues to Timberland Falls. As we continued on the crowds thinned, but the weather threatened. Its pretty much a fact of life that every afternoon T-Storms roll in, especially near the Continental Divide. The Loch is at 10,200ft elevation, so I kept a watchful eye on the fast moving storm clouds as we treked along.

After a mile of rocky switchback climbs, we started seeing more and more snow which was a precursor of things to come. We eventually came around a corner to see an enormous snow bank in front of us. Luckily, the snow bank was packed and able to be walked across easily. Just passed the first snow bank we found The Loch, which is a high elevation lake comparable to Mills and/or Emerald.

We decided that due to the pending storms (we had no jackets) and the mounting snow at 10k and above, that The Loch would suffice as our ultimate destination and Timberland Falls would have to wait. So we sat on a rocky ledge, had some lunch and repeatedly said how lucky we both felt to live so close to such an amazing place.

We didn't stay too long, as a wicked wind was coming off the peaks and the temps were easily 20 degrees less at The Loch than at the parking lot. We made great time heading back down, stopping only for a couple photos before arriving back at the car. We ended up doing a bit over 7 miles, with somewhere around 2,000 ft in elevation gain.

I decided to take the scenic route home (Hghwy 7 instead of 36) for a change, and we stumbled upon St. Malo Chapel (The Church on the Rock). We stopped long enough to snap some pics, take a quick tour inside and then headed back home for some pizza for dinner.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Beautiful pictures! I've always hated hiking. You know walking is so slow. But I've been thinking Marni and I should begin a hiking project together like the 14ers as I always see and read about other couples hiking together. Now we bike together which is fun but I think hiking you get a more level playing field and get to talk easier.