My soul NEEDS adventure….it’s been that way since I was a little human. In the summer of 1970, I taught myself how to ride a bike – I was 5 years old. I’d ride like the wind to a lake about 2 miles from our house. It felt like 20 miles to my kid brain but I loved every second of it.
A few weekends ago, an adventure was much needed so I drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park and did a solo hike up to Black Lake. Black Lake is tough in the summer, it’s equally tough in the winter. The trail is just shy of 10 miles out and back with about 1600 ft of elevation gain. Lots and lots of snow and a few frozen lakes were on the menu.
As with most National Parks, the trails are really well marked, however, when it snows people like to get off trail which makes it sometimes tough to follow the right path. I STILL have not learned my lesson to download the AllTrails app to help with the guiding. Not sure why I have such a mental block with this. Geez. I didn’t get lost per se, but did follow the wrong tracks more than once.
I do love snowshoeing but in all honesty, micro-spikes are the preferred method to navigate the snow. So, the backpack was loaded with micro-spikes, pb&js, peanuts, a liter of water, extra clothes, hand warmers, poles, a headlamp, extra battery pack, etc. Snowshoes were also strapped to the back, just in case. Almost all of the 10 essentials, but not quite. I probably should have had some sort of a trowel in case I had to go #2 (I knew it was going to be a long day – lol).
I got to the Glacier Gorge trailhead around 11:00. That is LATE. Usually the best time to arrive at a popular Colorado trailhead is around 8:00 am (or earlier) assuming you want a parking spot. I ended up sitting in Big Mama (my white beast of a truck) for about 20 minutes, waiting for the early-birds to finish up their hikes. That wasn’t too awful, podcasts are useful to pass the time. The one I listened to had to do with the Green River Killer in the Pacific Northwest. This might not have been the best choice when hiking alone, but true crime is my jam.
Everyone on the trail was super friendly. Minus the punk teenager who almost mowed me over on his back country skis. Yep, the almost ‘boomer’ (me) called him an asshole. I’m sure the eye rolls were rich.
Thought I’d share a few photos from that day. It was a bluebird, windy day. Pretty stunning.
The trail was nice and packed down for the first couple of miles.
I got to the first frozen lake (Mills) and realized the short cut to continue the trail to Black was to cross it on foot. This concept was terrifying to me. I watched these guys pass first.
These two peeps ended up being my muses for the day. Here they are hiking in the shadow of some large boulders. The closer we got to our destination, the snow got deeper and deeper and the wind, stronger and stronger. Snowshoes were probably needed, but all 3 of us remained stubborn with spikes.
It took about 2.5 hours to get to Black. It was so windy only a silly selfie was taken. I see a fat lip, not sure what that’s about. Looks like I’ve had some sort of injection. That’s the lake behind me, covered in so much snow, you couldn’t really appreciate its beauty.
The way down was incredible – most people were back to their cars. It felt as though I had the park all to myself. My 2 muses remained at Black. No clue what they did up there with all the wind. I can’t imagine eating lunch in 35 mile per hour winds was too satisfying.
Crossing that frozen lake again by myself was not my favorite part of the day. (I don’t think I’ll ever do that again.) By this time, the Green River Killer was revealed. What a freak show (and very sad) story.
The sun started to slowly disappear as the day progressed. It was so peaceful.
The vistas were amazing.
It was an incredible day. My cup was completely filled by this outing. It was just what I needed.
Cheers to little adventures – may we all have them in whatever form suits us.
…i choose this…