Last week my friend Devon and I found ourselves on an unexpected rookie backcountry adventure. Having both been described as "reckless and stubborn" she is my ideal exploring buddy, however this time I can truly say we did not know what we were getting ourselves into. After hiking to Lake Ypsilon, we began to follow a steep battered trail up past a waterfall.
With 3 million visitors each year, summers are busy around Rocky Mountain National Park. Many families return year after year because it’s such a special place, and book their lodging a year in advance.
If you find yourself wanting to put together a last minute summer visit to the mountains, you might discover it’s not so easy to find a place to stay because many lodges are already booked during the “high” season, especially during July and August.
August is a month of transition from Summer into Fall. By late August the tundra turns its fall colors. The juvenile animals are starting to head out on their own, so sightings of coyotes and badgers are on the rise. Up by tree line the Elk are searching for various plants with high calcium and potassium levels to help solidify their antlers.
The early morning was cool and breezy with the red light of dawn hitting Longs Peak. I couldn’t wait to get up closer and experience the mountains. I chose the iconic hike to Dream Lake as my destination.
Staying in the Moraine Park Campground, I got up early to catch the first Park Shuttle Bus to Bear Lake at 7:25am so that I didn’t need to park my car at the trailhead. By the time I had finished my hike, not only the Bear Lake parking area, but the huge Park and Ride at Glacier Basin were full of cars.
Early June is when most of the babies of RMNP arrive. After birth the elk calf spends most of its time hiding in grass or near bushes and following it's mother as she grazes. Nature is momentarily kind during the elks' first week of life - the baby doesn't produce a scent for nearly a week to help allude predators.