Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rockin' the Rockies: Day 3

On the third day of our trip (catchup on Day 1 and Day 2 here), we and the family decided to go on a long 10 mile hike through the mountains.

 Our destination was Sky Pond.

 Like our hike on Day 1, we saw some more incredible sights on our way.

 Once we hit the treeline (about 11,000 ft elevation), the views were even more spectacular.

And then we hit snow.

 We stumbled and slid our way across a slope of snow, only to realize --

That we had to climb up a waterfall to get to Sky Pond.

Yup, they even put a sign up to make sure that there was no confusion in the fact that us hikers had to scale a vertical waterfall to reach the destination.

That was fun.

But once we reached the top, all the effort was worth it.

But we didn't even stop there. We followed a small trail through more snow and brush to reach another lake beyond the first - this one was called the Lake of Glass, because the wind was still, and so was the water.

The mountains seemed to plunge down directly into the lake.

The view was incredible.

We spied some serious mountain climbers scaling one of the Shark's Teeth rocks off to the right -- although they were so high up above us that we had to use binoculars to see them.

Once we had sat awhile and drank in our fill of the incredible lake(s), it was time to begin the descent.

After carefully climbing down the waterfall and trudging through the snow and ice (where a few of us - including me - fell, and a couple people slid into the rocky waterfall! Luckily Tom managed to save me from sliding quite that far.) we stopped on a few outcroppings of rocks and ate lunch while we soaked up the mountain air and took in the breathtaking view.

On our hike back, we stopped at a lower lake to look back on the mountain we'd climbed.


Afterwards, we drove out to see the infamous Chipmunk Rocks (or so our family calls them).

On the way, we passed by the famous Stanley Hotel.

This is the hotel that Stephen King stayed in (and it is believed he was inspired by) when he began writing one of his famous books, The Shining. The hotel offers regular Ghost Tours, where they take groups through the hotel's history, the room Stephen King stayed in (#217) and his connection to the hotel, as well as haunted places and an underground tunnel (click here for their website). We didn't drop by the hotel this time around, but perhaps we will next time - that tour sounds pretty interesting (did I mention I'm a big Stephen King fan?).

Then we arrived at the Chipmunk Rocks, ready with peanuts in hand, to face the horde of Hungry Chipmunks we'd been hearing all about.

Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be very many chipmunks hanging around the rocks (we'd been told that there would be hundreds!). They were cute, but none of these guys had the guts or fearlessness that we'd been impressed by in that one chipmunk on Day 1, at the bottom of Ouzel Falls.

This little guy was awesome.

After a long day and with sore and tired muscles, scrapes on our hands and legs from climbing the waterfall, blisters on our feet and melted snow in our shoes, we came back to the place we were staying in --

To this.

What a perfect ending to an incredible vacation -- near-death experiences included!

What do you guys think? Will you be paying a visit to Colorado anytime soon? Anyone have any good hiking trails in the Rocky Mountain National Park for us to hit up next time? We can't wait to go back for some more crazy adventures in the mountains!

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  1. That's just gorgeous. It makes me miss the mountains. What a terrific vacation you guys had!

  2. Your photos are postcard-perfect! They should sell them in the gift shops in Estes Park.
    Your Proud Mom =)

  3. what gorgeous views!! oohh... that hotel sounds creepy...

  4. Beautiful photos Chelsea!! You guys are good,being so active on your vacations! The chipmunks are too cute! You got some wonderful shots there!! I hadn't heard of that hotel but that's pretty cool!!!


  5. Wow!!! How about next time we go to Vegas we make it into a road trip and stop in Colorado???

  6. Your photos remind me of so many good times. I did that same hike when I worked in Estes, and we went to the supposedly haunted Stanley hotel. I love the photos you took. The bright blue sky is so beautiful next to the mountains!

  7. Wow, beautiful! Looks like a perfect day to hike. You're making me miss the mountains!


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