Dropped Ro off at Camp Bow Wow (doggie daycare) at 7am, met up with last weekend’s group hike buddies, Annmarie & John at Panera in Boulder – destination Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park.  Happy Public Lands Day!  No $20 entrance fee – FREE is for ME!

Sunshine, 60-degree weather, yellow aspens…and SNOW on the peaks!

We entered Beaver Meadows Entrance just past Estes Park.  Today’s hike destination was Black Lake, a 10+ mile hike off Bear Lake Rd within the park.  2 waterfalls, 3 lakes, well-marked trail, all under treeline.  FAAANNNNTASTIC!

I love my dog but maybe even more fun to hike with human conversation.  We weren’t more than a mile into our hike before we christened John, ‘Black John’ (due to his dark humour).  Super fun people.  AND not always easy to find folks who hike at the same pace.  I definitely lucked out – both John & Annmarie also hike weekly, both former East Coast, both like to laugh.

Bladder tube – won’t go into detail here…but I can tell you, was a super funny story.

After a pic opportunity at Alberta Falls, took an energy bar break at Mills Lake.  Landscape was seriously breath-taking.  Pristine aquamarine water filled with native trout, hugged by evergreens – all against a snow peak backdrop.  W-O-W!

Hiked through a section of the trail affected by the windstorm of 11.12.11.  Crews cut thru tens of fallen trees to reclaim trail access to hikers. Thanks!  Another photo shoot opportunity at Ribbon Falls, before reaching today’s end destination goal, Black Lake. Perched up on rocks overlooking Black Lake, we dropped our backpacks and enjoyed lunch with a view.  AMAZING!

An impromptu waterfall spilled over massive rock.  Super cold water but just had to get in.  Shed shoes & socks and climbed into the water – sooooooo cold.  Peer pressured my friends to touch the waterfall (caused by melting snow-runoff).

Crazy beautiful day.

Ended hike day with burgers at BJ’s Brewery in Boulder (‘cause Estes Park was packed with tourists enjoying ‘Elk Fest’).  Picked up Ro, completely worn out from pack play with his peeps – I didn’t say a word about my hike 🙂

p.s.  Who’s afraid of the big 4-0?  Not I.  Arches Nat’l Park in Utah is hike destination #40!

 

Black Lake/RMNP (waterfall clip)

 

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