With fresh snow in the mountains, a flight booked to California on Sunday, and a bluebird day in the forecast, Ryan and I made our way to Rocky Mountain National Park for some snowshoeing before the holidays arrived.
Since we were unable to reach The Loch on our last outing to Rocky Mountain National Park with my sister and her boyfriend, Ryan and I were determined to make it there this time (as it is one of my favorite destinations!). Heading out from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, it is a relatively easy hike that comes in around 6 miles in length with 1,040ft elevation gain. Snowshoeing at a relaxed pace, we were able to complete the round trip in just over 3 hours.
Taking our time this morning to get snow tires put on the Subaru, we arrived to the trailhead and snatched up the last parking spot around noon. We put on our packs, and snowshoes, and layers (while it was sunny and the temperatures were in the 40s, the wind was blowing HARD!), we wasted no time in hitting the trail.
The trail was quiet, and we only came across a few other groups of people who were making their way back to the trailhead. The park had seen significant snowfall since we were last here, so it was a relief to have the trail completely covered with snow. We made our way quickly past Alberta Falls (which in my opinion, is not much to look at in the winter), and continued on to The Loch.
We reached the trail junction for The Loch, and to my disappointment we had to make our way up the (longer) summer route which consists of a series of steep switchbacks as opposed to the winter route that takes you straight over the Icy Brook. I guess I’ll just have to be patient and wait until the spring when the winter routes are more accessible!
As we made our way up the final part of the trail, the sun had just began to set behind the mountains.. offering up spectacular lighting to fill the Loch and its surrounding mountains, most specifically Taylor Glacier. Ryan and I played around on the frozen lake for a bit before heading over to the shore for a quick breather.
Once off of the main frozen lake, I was traversing across some snow near the shore when one of my snowshoes plunged down and into the (not yet frozen) shallows of the lake. Luckily for me, I was in knee-high waterproof boots and was able to carefully pick my way to solid ground. It’s still early season out there, folks! Be careful where you tread!
The wind across the lake in combination with the setting sun proved to be too cold for us to hang around much longer, and we made our way back towards the trailhead.
Another perfect day spent out in our backyard, this time bringing the year of 2015 to a close (as far as mountain adventures go!). As the snow continues to follow, I’ll be anxious to get back out there in the New Year with a refreshed mind and body 🙂
“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams”