Thursday, February 5, 2015

Snowshoeing in RMNP- Loch Vale

Snowshoeing in RMNP

Loch Vale and Mills Lake, from Glacier Gorge parking lot
7 miles RT, ~1,000' of elevation gain
24 January 2015

I wanted to take Scott and Kerry snowshoeing this winter, so we made it happen. I have been to this area before and it had great views, so I wanted to go again, taking them with me.

Our chosen day had some challenging weather. It was just below freezing, but the winds were whipping fiercly and it was overcast. The parking lot was nearly full just before 10 AM, and the initial weather was not encouraging. I later joked that the crux of the route was clearing the parking lot.
The trees helped up survive the wind

Looky cheery after the frozen start

This drainage is normally not accessible during the summertime, but it forms the winter trail

Heading up the drainage

The classic view

3-shot panorama

It was very windy

When I saw the lighting change, I had to stop and whip out my camera to get this shot

We only stayed at the Loch for about 5 minutes because of how cold and windy it was. We headed down. When we got back to the trees, it became much more bearable. We went down the drainage and turned off for the Mills Lake trail. It's only about 1/2 mile to Mills Lake from the turnoff. It's not that far uphill either.

The wind was really whipping

I love the log jam frozen in time

Mills Lake

Long's Peak, Keyboard of the winds, and Pagoda Mountain

More wind! It was so strong it was hard to make forward progress

Scott and Kerry

Time to head back to the car
The journey back down went as fast as we could manage. We didn't even really stop for a break, we just plugged away. Being hungry and cold kind of does that to you.

We stopped at Ed's Cantina in Estes Park and stuffed ourselves with Tex mex food. Then we drove to Left Hand Brewery in Longmont and sampled some beers. It was a good day.