Heath and I took Friday off last week. Thursday we put the finishing touches on our packing job.
and our trail mix making.
Then we got the girls in bed, hopped in the car with all our stuff and hit the road.
As our normal routine Heath started out the drive and I took over 1/2 way. Before we left I ate a whole bunch of dinner and had a strong beer so once we got going I was ready to fall asleep. We had the whole van to ourselves so I could lay back my chair pretty horizontal. I slept really good and before I knew it Heath was pulling into a gas station low on gas and needing to pee.
We filled the van and I got a big diet coke then took over driving. I had some podcasts to catch up on and after a few hours I really had to pee and figured I should fill up the van before we got into the mountains. I was also getting really drowsy. So I got a giant coffee and some candy and switched to an audio book. That stop really did the trick and I was energized for the rest of the drive.
It also helped that we left the straight highway and wound our way through little towns and into the mountains. We entered Rocky Mountain National Park and then wound our way all the way to Bear Lake. They had gotten snow and lots of wind and at first there were 1 other tire prints but after a ways they turned off and it was just us. When I got to the Bear Lake parking lot there was a few inches of fresh snow and after running to the bathroom I saw the sun was getting ready.
The wind was pretty strong and throwing snow around and the car thermometer said it was 18F. I got Heath up and we bundled up and put on our snow shoes and headed out onto the lake.
The sun was just lighting up the highest peaks in the background.
We ran around the lake checking things out and watching the sun come up.
We were the first ones there but another snowshoer came while we were cruising the lake and hit the trail to Emerald Lake. So when we started our hike we had some fresh tracks to follow.
It was a perfect day, clear and sunny and in the woods we could often get out of the wind.
We made it to Nymph lake and crossed it and another hiker caught up with us and the hiker we were following backtracked into us. The trail was invisible and no one was sure what way to go. We all searched around together a bit and then Heath and I decided to climb up a big hill near us to see what we could find and the other two didn’t come with. The climb didn’t help us see the trail any but it was totally worth it for the view.
We could see Bear lake but we could not see how to go away from it that was not straight up. It was really windy on the top so we did some bushwacking and slid down some really big really fun deep slopes. We worked our way off trail but toward Bear lake and we were getting hungry. Then we found this great spot under a giant overhang, so we moved in and took off our snow shoes.
We fired up the camp stove and got some water boiling.
This jerky moved right in and tried to get in on our breakfast.
and some lost hikers followed our trail and thought we knew the way to Emerald Lake. Then we ate hot oatmeal and hot coffee and it was really nice.
We packed up and headed on down the hills and around the bends and popped back out at Bear lake.
We thought about going back to the trail and trying again but decided to try soem other areas of the park in hopes the wind would not be as bad. So we drove pretty much all over the open parts of the park and looked for animals and not so windy hikes.
We climbed around some.
and posed a few times
and finally got hungry and worn out enough for lunch. We stopped at the picknick area around the aluvial fan and ate besides a creek.
Our legs started to feel pretty tired from the snowshoes so we drove down into Estes Park.
The brewery was not open yet so we went and got a room. We went back to the Silver Moon Inn and they randomly upgraded us to a giant room with a balcony and fireplace.
We got showered and cleaned up and changed then walked down to the brewery and ordered one of everything.
Rockcut was my favorite brewery of the trip and many of these were really good. On the way back we saw wine tastings so tried some out.
We really enjoyed the mead they had and the muled wine. We were getting hungry so got some Rocky mountain oysters.
Then went out for Mexican food. It was a little after 8pm when we got home and we finally got in the hot tub but it was really windy still and it had been a really full day so we headed to bed pretty soon.