Friday, September 10, 2010

Hiking the Lake Trails

See all our photos on Flickr.

This was our day to hit the trails. Following our ranger’s advice, we boarded the hiker’s shuttle to Bear Lake near the Moraine Park Visitors Center. We were very glad our friend Ann had told us to be sure to bring warm jackets, hats and gloves, because the temperature on this brilliantly sunny day started out in the 30s, the wind was brisk, and there were even a few snowflakes in the air.

Bear Lake is a tiny, pristine mountain lake with a mostly flat half-mile trail encircling it. We took our time making the circuit, taking lots of photos. Sufficiently primed, we continued along a trail connecting three successively higher lakes – Nymph, Dream and Emerald. Bear Lake is at a little over 9,000 feet in elevation. By the time we finished our hike a few hours later, we had topped 11,000 feet. The hike back down, needless to say, was much less challenging than the ascent. We may not be the fastest hikers in the world – we stop too often to take photos and admire the view – but we were pleased with how well we managed the climb – our first using our brand new hiking poles.

Once we descended from the lakes, we took another short climb – about 2 ½ miles round-trip – to Alberta Falls where we encountered a group of 8th graders on a field trip. We didn't linger there too long. Altogether, we hiked over six miles today!

After today’s strenuous efforts, a good steak was in order – and Orlando’s, which received rave accolades on the communal restaurant review board in our hotel’s lobby, fit the bill perfectly. This upscale restaurant is hidden behind a rather rowdy downtown bar – a pleasant surprise of a place that we would never have found on our own. We had excellent food and extremely efficient service here and felt duly rewarded.

See all our photos on Flickr.

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