Estes Cone and Lily Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, 8 August 2010

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  0.5 miles from the Longs Peak trailhead, a Y in the trail. We Hiked Chasm Lake a few weeks ago, trying Estes Cone trail (to the right) today. First stream crossing on the trail, Eugenia Mine remains in the right background. Eugenia Mine at the turn of the centry produced more dreams than gold. After some downhill, came to a campground. A pit toilet. Rustic, but when ya need it, ya need it.

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  Bright red mushroom - usually bright red means very poisonous! Small but beautiful meadow of wildflowers Nice trail marker to keep you out of private property. Elevation here is ~300 feet above the Longs Peak trailhead, so we have 1300 feet to gain in 1.2 miles. Ouch that's gonna be steep!

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  Partway up towards Storm Pass, nice view of Longs Peak covered in clouds. Good thing we weren't hiking up there! Z-twist in the tree - gnarly dude! I hate big steps. Little steps, steep ok but big steps hurt my knees :-( This is Storm Pass, you can get here from Lily Lake, or Longs Peak trailhead. Huge cairn of rocks here, can't miss this trail crossing.

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  Tho nowhere does it say you're at Storm Pass, or how to get to the Storm Pass campsites. Ah well. At the top after a long struggle up a steep rocky barely-discernable trail -- plenty of rock cairns are the only way to see the trail in a few places. View to the south-west - to Longs Peak (right) and Mount Meeker (left), still in clouds View to the north-west Hurrah we made it!

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  Windy up here! Awwwww.... View north east - lake is Lake Estes just south-east of Estes Park town. Chipmunk in the middle of the photo. Chipmunk in mid-leap just right of center.

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  This guy knows humans have food! Mount Meeker on left, Longs in middle. Clouds are breaking up. It's about 11:45am.

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  Looking east to Twin Sisters peaks. On the way back down, at the Z-gnarly tree. On highway 7 about a mile north of the Longs Peak Trailhead road is a pulloff with a gorgeous view of Estes Cone. From here it does look like a cone! Rotate about 40 degrees left (south) to see Mount Meeker on left, Longs Peak (with the notch) on right. I think the lower peak to the right of Longs is Granite Peak.

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  We stopped at Lily Lake for the obligatory "tick" walk around it. Ducks - momma and baby! Looking north to Lily Mountain. On the left side at waters-edge is the trail heading up a ridge along the mountain, the Lily Mountain trailhead is a mile or two away. Momma duck has learned humans have food. Babies haven't learned that yet. We're at the north-west corner of the lake about to up the Lily Ridge trail. At the high point of Lily Ridge trail, nice view of Mount Meeker (left), Longs Peak (middle), Estes Cone (right) which from here doesn't look like a cone.

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  Obligatory view down of the lake. On the right side you can see where a trail branches off the round-the-lake trail, that goes to Storm Pass. Lake and mountains. Doesn't get much prettier! Still at Lily Lake Ridge high point, east is Twin Sisters. Across the parking lot is the Lily Lake Visitors Center, which is shut down (for lack of funding I'd guess). One last look at the glorious vista before heading home.

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