Before kids, young couples do adventurous things. After kids, there is a pause in some outings (for most). Well, the day came which allowed for a long hike in the Colorado Rockies. With a village taking care of kids and dogs, we were up at 5am and eager to head out. The most peaceful morning light greeted us.
Starting at 6:30am and at about 8,000 feet, we were ready for an adventure. Oh, and it happened to be a day with 80% chance of rain. Sigh. Oh well, this was our day to do this. And I was determined to bring my real camera, not just my iPhone. Here we go.
Alberta Falls was the first pause we made. After that the rain started. Ahhh,,,, just like in Seattle. A light mist that got heavy at times.
The fog and clouds made for interesting depth and haze in many photos. My camera was on my hip holster covered in a gallon ziploc bag. It poured at times. I was worried the condensation inside the bag would damage my camera, so we stopped a couple times to dry it out. So far so good.
I was determined to keep our packs dry, so we wore our raincoats like capes. They were on and off the whole way. The temperature for this was perfect,; just more moisture than we hoped for.
The first lake we came to was Mills Lake. 2.8 miles in from the trailhead. The rain seemed to send many hikers back to their vehicles, but we wanted to press on and make it to the final destination – Black Lake. Another 2.5 miles to go.
Hundreds of trees were down throughout the entire hike. They were all peeled off the earth like this one. Perhaps a big storm or floods down the valley did the damage. The Pine Beetles likely killed these trees which then were super easy to blow over. The forests will recover.
The valley we were in was super lush. The grasses were a vibrant green and the peak in the distance was just barely peeking out from the clouds. Stunning!
Finally, we made it to Black Lake. The rain had stopped for the time being, but the mosquitos were prevalent. With all the rocks being wet, we ate our early lunch on foot while walking back down.
Turning around changed everything. Climbing down slippery rocks and steps instead of up (which is always harder). We only had one fall. The skies were in constant motion, so the light was always changing. How nice that an out-and-back hike gives you different views. Going down, I could see the valley at a better angle and the rock faces lit up with sunlight.
The benefits of starting a hike at 6:30am means you are done just after noon! With just a half mile until we were back at the trailhead we met up with oodles of people who had gotten off a coach bus and were hiking up to see the falls. Once you see people in sandals, jeans, and holding umbrellas, you know you are close to the end. We were so proud to have done this amazing hike together. Motivation to do another one soon!