Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sara in Colorado: Day 6

I've been home for almost a week, but there are still a few awesome things from Colorado I want to share with you...

Day 6: The Big Hike

My mom and I both signed up for an 11 mile all day hike to Black Lake.  It was a gorgeous morning and we left promptly at 8am to head into the Rocky Mountain National Park to find our trailhead with the rest of our group and our fearless leader, Amy.

The neat thing about this hike was that as you hiked you came across several natural wonders.  First up was Alberta Falls.

 What a cute mother daughter duo!

Once we were past the falls the real hike began.  And after a couple of miles we came to Mills Lake, which was gorgeous as you can see.

One of the more interesting things about this hike is that in November of 2011 a wind burst had come into the valley and at estimated 80mph winds tore up the landscape.  In the next few pictures you can see how wood split, trees were uprooted, and how many trees had to be cut to clear the trail for hikers.

I forgot to take a picture but a mile or so past Mills Lake we came upon Jewel Lake that really was a jewel tone green and very serene. It was after Jewel Lake that the rain started, and at one point hail.  Well, our hike leader called it something else, but it was icy and it stung the tops of my legs as I hiked.  We were told if there was lightening we would have to turn around due to the risk.  About a mile and a half from our destination a huge crack of lightening lit up the sky followed immediately by a boom of thunder.  We were given the signal and turned around in our tracks and back tracked about half a mile.  We sought cover under some trees once we were lower down and ate our lunches in the rain.  This was my least favorite part of the hike.  Finally the rain let up and some sun peeked through so we continued towards Black Lake.  There, just before reaching the lake we came upon....

ELK!  There were two females and two babies, who are harder to see in these pictures.  They were just calmly eating.  As you can see the one is tagged.  There is an overpopulation of Elk in the park and they follow some to check birth rates and other information.  

The closer we got to Black Lake the more beautiful the scenery became.  We were in between many mountains and could see water flowing down and patches of snow.  Simply gorgeous.

Finally we had made it to the lake but we didn't stay long.  Because when we turned around we saw more ominous looking clouds and didn't want to risk a storm.

Dark skies in one direction....

perfect weather in the other...

I was very happy to make it to the top! 

As we hiked back down I stopped to take some pictures of the splintered wood.  I loved the color and the textures it created.

At times on the hike we had to walk on beams of wood to avoid messing up the land.  Here I am with some of our group!

Finally back at Mills lake, our hike leader Amy had us all take our shoes and socks off and soothe our feet in the ice cold water.  Very refreshing.  But it started to rain again so we had to go finish the last few miles.

This is where I got cocky.  I felt the "old folk" were moving too slow so I took off, walking fast, and running down the rest of the trail.  Of course I inadvertently took the wrong trail to the parking lot and ended up adding an extra .6 miles to my journey.  Whoops!  My knees and ankles were NOT happy campers the next day.

That night was the first Family Summit Talent Show and it was AMAZING.  We're truly a multi-talented group.

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