Emerald Lake and Glacier Basin: Rocky Mountain National Park
As I sit here on a large rock in the middle of a field in Rocky Mountain National Park, I'm more and more amazed by my surroundings with every passing second. This is my first time in a national park, and it has absolutely blown me away. We entered about five hours ago and I'm already enamored by the beauty of my surroundings.
I've spent most of my time outdoors in the White Mountains, and my adventures there have been great, but today's short hike in Rocky Mountain has been a like nothing I've ever seen before. I grew up going on yearly ski trips to Utah, so I've been around mountains like these before, but somehow seeing them now is a completely different experience. Hiking has given me a totally new appreciation for nature and a respect for the mountains I now sit beneath.
Today's adventure was short but so sweet. After getting our ginormous RV we drove to Rocky Mountain National park for a quick hike before going to the campground. We utilized the hiker shuttle after parking at the park and ride, taking it to Bear Lake.
We had decided on a quick hike to Emerald Lake, passing by a few others along the way. About two minutes after we left the trailhead we were rewarded with expansive views that stayed with us throughout the hike. We quickly came to Nymph Lake which was covered in luscious green lily pads.
After a short ascent crossing winding brooks and beautiful bog bridges we arrived at Dream Lake. The water was beautifully still with the exception of a single fisherman standing in the water. We continued ascending and I noticed that the evergreens here were different than the short, tubby ones I've become so accustomed to in the Whites. These had big trunks reaching up to the sky.
When we reached Emerald Lake I was immediately in awe of the clear blue water and rocks surrounding it. The massive mountains towered in the background with glistening snowy patches in every col. I wanted so badly to be up on top of those mountains looking down, but at the same time I was intimidated by their grandeur. After dipping our feet into the cold crystal water we descended the way we came taking in all of the sights one more time. On our way back to the campsite we came across a large stately looking elk crossing the road. It was so unalarmed, walking across the street casually. It's antlers were quite intimidating and after it passed it stared at us as we drove off.
Now at the campsite as I watch the sunset over the mountains, there are three deer across the meadow. One of them inches closer and closer until I can hear it munching on the grass just in front of me. She pays no mind to me frozen sitting on my rock just 10 yards away. She looks up at me and we make eye contact, a secret treaty that if I stay exactly still in my place she will allow me to watch as she eats her supper in peace. My instinct is to whip out my phone for a picture, but I don't want the sudden movement to startle her so I just watch as she grazes and eventually moves away.
It was then I realized that some moments are so natural, so organic that they can't be captured by a lifeless picture. They must be appreciated in the moment because they're so fleeting they may never happen again. So it was just the deer and me watching the sunset behind the immense mountains above and I'm in heaven.
Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake from Bear Lake [3.7 miles, 670 ft, 2:00].
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