The snow was better than last week (and three weeks ago), but not as good as two weeks ago. There was a fair amount of fresh snow, but it was heavy, wet snow that sticks to everything (eventually, you get globs of ice on the cleats of the shoes, the straps on the shoes, even the walking sticks). And the fact that it was really warm didn't really help things -- it actually got slushy in a few places (admittedly, those are spots that don't tend to hold their snow anyway, since they're very exposed to the south, and next to a steep slope).
It was really warm -- I wore a t-shirt most of the day.
Anyway, I kinda overdid it, as I'm (unfortunately) prone to do sometimes. About six hours, maybe eight miles. The last mile or so was very, very slow, since I'd been running on fumes for about three miles at that point, and the last bit was uphill. I didn't get to the trailhead until almost 11AM this morning (too late to park in the Glacier Gorge parking lot), so I parked at Bear Lake. And since I was going up to Mills Lake...
I'm really sore. Really, really sore, sorer than I was after the first time up three weeks ago.
Also got a slight sunburn.
Anyway, I tried to make it all the way to Black Lake, but turned back about half a mile short. It was an awesome hike, but difficult. Not that many people go past Mills Lake, so the trail isn't as packed down (and is braided in places), so it's more work. And there's a bit more altitude, and the steady, unrelenting climb up the gorge.
I really wanted to make it, but first I was getting tired (more tired than I'd thought I was, actually, judging by how tired I was going down -- here's the thing about snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park. You start at nine or ten thousand feet, then start climbing. There's damn little flat. And climbing snow, well... It's harder than hiking, especially when you find the loose trails along the slopes, or have to cut over a really tall, steep snowbank... You get the idea). Second, I hit my turn-around time of three and a half hours. I didn't want it to turn into a seven (or god forbid, eight) hour hike -- I was already starting to run out of daylight as it was. As it was, I didn't think it would take six -- I was figuring more like five.
I do want to make it all the way up there someday, but it'll probably have to wait until I return from Japan. It'll be almost as hard next weekend as it was this one, methinks.
Anyway, stopped at the Wendy's I usually stop at in Boulder (not always, but sometimes). Really, I needed a bathroom, so I figured I'd grab a bite to eat while I was at it. Then I saw that there was a Noodles & Company right next to it, and couldn't resist the siren call of their indonesian peanut saute with lots and lots of the Siracha hot sauce in it. Mmmmm. At this point, of course, it was about 7PM and dark -- I'd had a lot longer day than I'd originally planned.
Also, note to self -- until they freakin' repaint the lines on 93, never ever (ever!) drive that road at night again. Holy f*cking jeebus. Ended up driving in the shoulder "lane" at one point -- and I wasn't the only one. Somebody else (who was a apparently a Golden firefighter, judging by the plate and bumper sticker) did it too right in front of me. In the middle of Golden.
Wandering through the woods...
I think maybe the falls are snowed in.
Some people may think it strange that I have a favorite tree in Rocky Mountain National Park, but that isn't the only park where I have one. This is the tree. I have pictures of that tree in Summer, and in Fall. Now I have one in Winter.
Up past Mills Lake. Climbing, climbing, climbing...
Here I am, having climbed all this way, and Longs Peak is still 3,000 feet above me (that's it all the way to the left, the blocky-looking thing -- it's actually quite distinctive).
Back at Mills Lake, starting to run out of daylight.
Me! On Mills Lake, slightly earlier in the day, on my way up.