In the Cold and Beautiful Silence of Bear Lake- Rocky Mountain NP, CO

The goal was a nice morning, a good start to the day ahead of us before we headed down to the Garden of the Gods and ended the day in the San Juan Mountains. To that end, we didn’t push ourselves to wake up before the sun, knowing the lake would probably be filled with many a photographer hoping to catch that beautiful early morning light. We packed up the car just a little after 630am, checked out of the hotel we were staying at in Estes Park (which I highly recommend as your home base if your going to be spending time in Rocky Mountain NP) and headed on up into the park at a leisurely pace.

A couple of wild animal crossings later, we made it to the parking lot of Bear Lake, which just two days prior we had driven to just a little before midday and found absolutely packed. That morning however, only a few cars remained. We slipped (and I do very much mean slipped, neither one of us had the forethought to pack yak trax and the short trail was covered with snow that had iced over) our way out to the lake and found it completely frozen over and beautifully quiet. It was cold, the sun still making it’s way up and our hands stupidly bare and freezing, but it was so incredibly beautiful to the point that it made us forget the discomfort.

Only two people remained, both slipping their way back towards the parking lot by the time we started to make out way around the lake, leaving us with the place all to ourselves. Neither the bf or I had ever seen a completely frozen over lake before, never mind actually walk out on the surface of one, so the whole experience was full of adventure and discovery. Somehow neither one of us actually fell, though we came close a couple of times, and we ended up sitting on some rocks jutting out near the edges of the lake, watching the light come up.

It was very cold, very quiet and above all, incredibly breathtaking.

~m

Bear Lake Rd and Many Parks Curve- Rocky Mountain NP, Pt. 1



We woke up a bit later than we wanted on our first real day in Colorado, at the bf’s parents home in Loveland, but after doing a 14+ hour drive we could hardly be blamed for that. (I love roadtrips, truly I do, but they can really take it out of your sometimes.)

The plan was to head on out to Rocky Mountain NP and just take in the sights that might be open (about 70% of all roads where closed for the season, which was sometime we had actually anticipated in advance) and stop at Bear Lake per recommendation from the bf’s family. About two hours later found us rethinking these plans because apparently even in the off season you should probably get to Bear Lake earlier than 11am if you’d like to score a parking spot. This ended up being the best thing that could happen however as we quickly rearranged plans to come back just after sunrise the next morning when there were no people to see us slip and sliding around the frozen lake but …thats a story for a later post.

My recommendation if you’d like to visit Rocky Mountain NP would be to visit when  Trail Ridge Road is open (seems to usually open late in May) as that’s pretty much the #1 attraction at the park. If just you’re in the area like we were though, definetly take the opportunity to at least stop by for a few hours, it’s more than worth it.

~m

That Cold Mountain Air- Estes Park, Colorado

– first photo taken at Rocky Mountain Natl. Park, second photo at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, third photo in the ghost town of Caribou, just outside Nederland, CO (all iPhone)

Currently writing this from our hotel room in Estes Park while I try and set down the plans for tomorrow a little better. I’m trying something different with this roadtrip, both in the way i’ve been keeping track of everything going on (actually sitting down at the end of the day to write out one page layouts)  and how i’ll be posting about it. So while I don’t think I can blog about events in any kind of real time, i’m gonna try and get these posts out faster than last time at least.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to this part of Colorado that holds the lovely snowcapped Rockies of Rocky Mountain National Park and the interesting cities of Boulder and Denver and head on south to Colorado Springs to hit Garden of the Gods before road tripping on South Fork to huddle ourselves in the welcoming curves of the San Juan Mountains.

~m