Adventures in Colorado and around the World

Whirlwind Moments in Rocky Mountain National Park

She was gone without a warning
Long before the sunrise
I will paint the perfect face
I will draw her eyes with the pigment of my mind

I’ve spent the last month traveling around the country for work. I’ve been to Orlando, home to Denver, to New Orleans, Palo Alto and next to New Hampshire. Knowing that I only had a couple of days at home, Jason and I decided to make the most of it and spend some time in our local National Park, Rocky Mountain.

I will trace her lines
‘Cause I have traced them thousands of times

I wanted to make it up to Black Lake (and maybe as far as Blue and Green Lakes) in the Glacier Gorge section of Rocky Mountain National Park. We visited Black Lake two years ago, trudging through rotten snow and praying that the snow bridges wouldn’t collapse underneath us. Since we’ve had a low snow year in the Rockies, I thought we would be able to make it up to Black Lake without any issue. As soon as we started on the trail I realized that would be the case since the snow covered most of the trail at 9,000 feet, it would certainly be snow covered at 11,000 feet.

All my days are filled with mourning
All my nights are lonely
I just stare out into space
Searching for her eyes in a never-ending sky

We set the intermediary goal of making it to Mills Lake and then deciding what to do when we got there. Unlike the previous time at Mills Lake, we didn’t see any elk (and didn’t have one bluff charge me), but that was most likely due to the fact that the lake was still mostly snow and ice covered and not because of any luck! We spent some time relaxing and taking photos at Mills Lake while deciding what to do. We knew the trail up to Black Lake would be miserable and I didn’t want to repeat the post-holing that happened the last time we went up to the lake and most likely lead to my femoral head stress fracture. I also didn’t want to aggravate my knee injury anymore so we decided to make a loop around to Hiayaha and Dream Lakes.

Leave me where I die
I don’t care if I live or die

If we were trying to avoid post-holing, we made a poor choice. But luckily the post-holing was infrequent and I didn’t further injure myself. Lake Haiyaha was much more scenic than I remember it being. As we ate our snack on a sun-warmed rock we watched climbers lugging their crashpads up the snow-filled slope toward unknown boulders. The trail down to Dream was more stable than I remember it being the last time we visited Haiyaha and I didn’t feel like it could slide at any moment (it traverses a small avalanche area). Once we made it down to Dream Lake we were greeted with the weekend crowds. The run back down to the parking lot was fast and furious, with people moving out of our way as they heard us thundering down the trail.

I will never ever love another one the way I loved her
If I ever learn to love again
I will wait until the end

After our whirlwind loop we headed back down to Boulder for a buffet of deliciousness at Kathmandu II Indian and Nepalese Restaurant. Like every other trip to Rocky Mountain, this one was an adventure in its own unique way. Even though I find myself going back to the same places, each time I see them they reveal different aspects of themselves to me. Although I have been to Dream Lake countless times, I’ve only seen it covered in polished-glass ice. Last time at Mills Lake, we hurried past the lake’s outlet on our way to farther and higher destinations. I didn’t take the time to notice how perfectly the log jam mimics the jagged ridgeline above the lake. Even in the midst of a whirlwind, there’s always time to appreciate the small things (and always time to pay a visit to your favorite National Park).

‘Cause I don’t know where, I don’t know when
But maybe, I’m gon’ see her again