Snowy Loop in RMNP

Rocky Mountain National Park, 18 miles, much of it in heavy snow.

Buoyed by my success, at Lumpy Ridge, Peter and I headed for RMNP again for some lower-elevation trail pounding, trying to get in some miles without too much snow. We started from the Cub Lake trailhead and headed to the Pool, thence to Cub Lake, over to Hallowell Park, and to Bierstadt Lake. The latter two I’d never been to before and they were lovely. They were also a nearly continuous snow slog above about 9000′ and we were quickly soaked through. This winter has lasted long enough! It’s the end of May. Can’t we have summer now?!

Peter at Bierstadt Lake. There's still lots of snow in the mountains and more than we liked even down in the trees.

We emerged at Bear Lake having logged only 10 miles in three hours. I wanted more, preferably without snow. Peter dropped out at the Glacier Gorge trailhead, but I took the trail down to Sprague Lake (more new terrain for me). There was snow in the first quarter mile, but it was blissfully clear after that. The fact that it was slightly downhill didn’t hurt either!

From Sprague Lake, I continued past the Glacier Basin Campground (which is rather ugly) on a dusty trail getting more and more covered in, shall we say, evidence of recent use by horses. In a few more miles, I emerged at the Livery and met a few score of the culprits. Asking directions at the stable, I managed to escape the corrals and log a few more trail miles before, somehow, emerging on the Bear Lake road at the far side of Moraine Park from where we’d started…

…and who should be driving up the road, but Peter in my car! He’d caught the shuttle busses around and decided to come look for me. Where he expected to find me is a mystery and had he been five minutes earlier or later, he wouldn’t have found me and… well, no matter. The total for the day was 18 miles and more of them on snow than I liked.

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