Autumn Aspen Ambling

"…Nature, who is superior to all style and ages, is now, with pensive face, composing her poem Autumn, with which no work no will be to be compared." —HDT

This past Saturday was National Public Lands Day. Another day to give back and celebrate the lands we all use and love. Perhaps it a residual of the Catholic Guilt I was raised with, but I feel the need to give back to something I've benefited so much from.

Saturday was just an awesome day. Perfect fall weather, a great crew (including a park tech who was also a corporate refugee from the same salt mine I worked at!) and a fun day of refurbing rock steps used by many climbers. Hauling and moving rocks while helping to construct trail may be difficult work…but when you look out from the steps you just helped construct, see the divide covered with a dusting of snow and take it all in while sipping water…well, it sure is a better view than the grey cube I had worked in previously.

Sunday was time to play. There are some days that are just so perfect. Sparkling lakes, blazing aspen, cloudless blue skies and elks bugling. If I had to pick a perfect Fall day, yesterday was it!

The loop in Rocky Mtn NP was about 15 miles, took in 5 lakes and was chosen specifically to take in the aspens at their peak. The bright yellow leaves, with the Rockies as backdrop, is a sight to behold.

Rather than give a blow-by-blow trip description, I'll just touch on the highlights:

First we started at Howell Park with its wide open meadow and a trail leading in a grove of aspens:
 

The easy hiking lead to more and more impressive views. This time of the year always reminds me of being in a cathedral of aspens.

The theme of the hike, though, (besides aspens) was lake hiking. The ground cover was red, the mountains impressive and the aspens awesome through out the hike. Throw in five sparkling lakes and all is good.

Of course, the most hard core hiker of the day had to be Mercedes. Four-mos pregnant and hiking ~15 miles!

The five of us continued to hike along the lakes and enjoy the views.

We took a leisurely lunch at Lake Odessa. It's impressive views towards the divide with Little Matterhorn above makes it one of my personal favorite lakes in the Park.

Mmm..coffee

The day continued to delight as we walked to more lakes (two slightly off trail). Could the day get any better?

The day ended where we started . With the late afternoon/early evening twilight, the quiet meadow was a perfect place to end the day. We heard the elks bugling and the Fall experience was complete. An MGP (Mandatory Group Photo. ) was taken and we ended the weekend by the usual RMNP post-hike pit stop: Oskar Blues!

Life, as it has been said more than once, ain't bad.

ALL THE PHOTOS

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