Glass Lake, RMNP 21 August 2011

Dave & Patty & Bob & Sue hiked to Glass Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. We were going to try to go all the way to Sky Pond, made it 95% of the way before clouds rolled in. We had a late start - the park was packed, Glacier Gorge parking lot was full, Bear Lake lot filled up just as we got there so we had to drive back to the park-and-ride and catch the shuttle.

That did mean it didn't matter what trailhead we finished up at, just anywhere we could catch the shuttle back to the park-n-ride. Shuttle buses are nice, run every 5 minutes or so...

Day totals - about 9 miles round-trip, about 2000 feet of elevation gain.

Click on a thumbnail photo for medium-resolution, click again for full-size.

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  Alberta Falls, on the trail to Loch Vale. Bob is having fun. About halfway to Loch Vale, gorgeous panorama. Looking left.

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  Riverbed coming out of Loch Vale. Hiking trail does NOT follow the riverbed. Compare with next photo from winter! Same riverbed in winter - we snowshoed straight up it. Lots of wildflowers along the river. Snow! Still a few areas of snow up here, in August. We're only at ~10,000 feet. Sue with Dave & Patty in background, next to the snowfield.

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  Typical Sue photo, eyes closed :-) Loch Vale, Patty, Dave. Gorgeous lake! Looking south-ish. About the same shot, from January when we snow-shoed in.

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  Notice the tiny waterfall near the middle-left off in the distance. Close-in of waterfall area. That's Timberline Falls, on the way to Sky Pond. Crossing a stream, a side trail goes off to Andrews Glacier.

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  We're hoping to make Sky Pond today, 4.4 miles each way from trailhead. Looking up the side trail to Andrews Glacier, follows a pretty stream up. Looking downstream. Pretty purple flower Trail to Timberline Falls is in awesome condition, very well maintained. Logs laid here for a boardwalk across this marshy area.

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  Lots of wildflowers. Backdrop of the wildflowers, a scree field above it. Right then we emerged from trees and got a look at Timberline Falls. Awesome. We're going up there... significant word being "up". Trail here is just small steps up, gonna get a LOT steeper.

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  Find the largest rock in this photo, center left. Just to the bottom right of that is steps, going up. Steep steps. A lot of them. Just to the top-right of that rock are Dave and Patty, tiny in white, energizer bunnies hopping up the steps ahead of us. Heading up to the falls. Dave & Patty at the top of this set of steps, waiting for Bob and Sue to get up there. Looking down the steps at Bob.

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  Gorgeous view down to Loch Vale, about center. zoomed in. Trail goes left of the snowfield and up. Starts getting wet here, you can see people in red/orange further up. We took a lunch break here. Fresh Blueberries at 10,000 feet! Bob at the base of the falls. Snow at the bottom of the falls.

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  Notice the sign between the two ladies in pink... Yup that's the "trail" up. It's a scramble up wet slick rocks. Looking downhill and left (north-west?), at the bottom of the snowfield are Dave & Patty in white. Nice place to hang out. Looking downhill (north) to Loch Vale.

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  zoomed in. Notice clouds are rolling in, getting darker to the west. From where the guy is coming up the stream, up the rocks at our feet, is about 15 feet of straight up. This was a major bottleneck area. Big group behind us coming up. Heading up stream still.

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  The "trail" is the stream bed. Enough big dry rocks to not be _too_ dangerous and slippery here. Clouds coming in here too. Lake of Glass Pull out the map - how much further to Sky Pond? And is there a "trail"?

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  No obvious trail (rock cairns), still a ways to go, we decide to turn back here. fish in Lake of Glass Pretty meadows of wildflowers. Expect to see some deer grazing... Trail is right along the stream (Icy Brook). Gorgeous hiking! Back at Loch Vale, clouds are moving in but still gorgeous.

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  Elk! Patty on trail at left, elk on right. Single antler points so a young-un. People walked up and down the trail, chatted in normal voices, the elk just completely ignored us.

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  More folks coming down the trail taking photos of the elk. Back at the bottom of the waterfall coming down from Loch Vale. A few sprinkles so raincoats are on now. But.. there isn't a trail ahead. Weird.

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  Not quite a lake, wide spot in a stream here at this sign. Sue was an idiot and talked folks into heading down to Bear Lake trailhead instead of where we started at Glacier Gorge trailhead. Here we finally OMG made it from the Loch-Mills junction to the Haiyaha junction - OMG hadn't realized it was UPHILL going out, this was supposed to be downhill going out! work in progress on this bridge. Will be a nice new bridge soon. YAGV (yet another glorious vista, thanks Jay)

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  Coming down from Lake Haiyaha, gorgeous overlook. Glacier Gorge parking lot to the right, lakes in cener are (I think) Dream and Nymph? Bear Lake is invisible straight down, I think. It's only 0.1 miles to Dream but we're too footsore to go even 0.1 miles up the spur trail to see yet another beautiful lake today :-) Overlook of Nymph Lake. Compare with next photo, same shot in winter. What this overlook looks like in winter - Dec 2010 North-east shore of Nymph Lake looking west-ish.

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