My friend Claire and I went on a morning hike at Rocky Mountain National Park this past Thursday, and it made me officially excited for another Colorado summer. Skiing this winter has been fun and all, but I really can’t wait to live outside all summer long. I think if I absolutely had to choose between Colorado summers and Colorado winters, I would choose summers. It would be a difficult decision though, and I’m glad that’s a choice I will never have to make.
Anyway, while it has been a beautiful past couple of days in Denver, it’s definitely still spring in Colorado. Claire and I went to A-Basin last week for my cousin’s birthday, and hung out in 18 degree snowy weather. And on our Thursday hike, there was plenty of snow at Wild Basin, which is only at 8,500 feet elevation. Wild Basin is the south entrance to RMNP, located just past Lyons, and comparatively the main entrance in Estes Park is at 9,500 feet elevation.
I have not been to any of the Wild Basin trails all winter, so I was excited to check out the scenery. In the summer months, Wild Basin is perhaps my favorite part of RMNP. It’s a little bit off the beaten track and less crowded than RMNP. My policy over the summer is that if I can’t make it to the trailhead by 7:30 a.m., I don’t even attempt to hike at RMNP. I love RMNP but it does get very crowded in June, July and August. Wild Basin is almost always more of a local crowd. I would actually say that if Wild Basin and RMNP were ski resorts, Wild Basin would be like A-Basin and RMNP would be like Breckenridge.
We ended up hiking just a little bit past Calypso Cascades, which from the winter parking lot was roughly an eight mile hike. When we got to Wild Basin in the morning, we were the only people in the parking lot, which was nice. In fact, it was so deserted that Claire thought it would be an excellent idea to bring up bears. She kept talking about how they were going to be coming out of hibernation, and I almost made her turn around before we had made it to the trailheads. I was perhaps a little bit jumpy all day after the bear comment, so humorously enough, I was legitimately startled by a parked truck that we ran into at the end of the day.
I swear I’m not actually a wimp. I think I just spend too much time reading the National Park Service incident reports at work, so I know that crazy things, like bear attacks, really do happen. Luckily, we had no encounters with bears, and Claire and I had a lovely day in the mountains. The hardest part of our day was probably the fact that the snow was starting to thaw, and we kept randomly sinking down in certain areas of the trail. The snow was so packed down though, that snowshoes probably wouldn’t have made a difference. Oh well, it kept our hike interesting!
Sadly, Calypso Cascades is much less impressive under snow than it is in the summer.
On a positive note, Copeland Falls were much more impressive than usual. It’s all relative.
Since Claire and I are incapable of staying in the city for more than a five day period, we already have tentative plans to hike Sandbeach Lake next week. It should be great!