We went on our Rocky Mountain National Park adventure in mid-August 2017. We had been planning on this trip for about a year and a half. There were so many premier hikes it was exciting to put the daily hiking itinerary together.
There are a few takeoffs that I like to share regarding the park-one negative and one positive. So that I’ll end on a high note I think I’ll start with the negative item. Unlike many national parks, Rocky Mountain National Park is located rather close to a major metropolitan area. This leads to much bigger crowds on weekends and they show up earlier. With most national parks there are huge crowds but we noticed a distinct difference with the other hikers in this park. We have always been very friendly hikers so when we run into folks on the trail especially when we get a few miles from the parking lots. There were definitely more unfriendly hikers in this park than most. There are always folks who don’t give you the time of day but the number of hikers who would avoid eye contact and not return salutations was noticeable. We chalked that up to the fact that so many people transition from walking in the city to walking on the trail from one day to another while not mentally transitioning into vacation mode. It’s not like everyone was unfriendly. We had some wonderful conversations with several people.
Now for the positive item. There were several positive experiences that we enjoyed in the park but what tends to stand out are those things that were not anticipated. The one thing that we were totally blown away with were those little sanctuaries high in the backcountry. Generally it was between two lakes near the end of a giant cirque surrounded by cliffs where we would run into an intersection of streams and waterfalls that would converge in a beautiful grassy meadow rich with wildflowers. There was no way to capture it on film because it was an experience that was all around us. We found this below Chasm Lake, between Lake of Glass and Sky Pond, just below Crystal Lake and just above Lion Lake #1. It was almost too perfect. I would have to describe it as an experience that is as close to paradise as we have found on earth. We have found similar places on our hikes but not as many in one place.
I hope you enjoy our hikes. Please feel free to comment with any feedback you might have.