Four lakes and two hikes

Nymph Lake

On Thursday, Gene, Sidney and I drove up to Estes Park. We stopped in Boulder for lunch and then went to the Bear Lake Trailhead in the Rocky Mountain National Park for a 3.5 mile hike to see three different lakes: Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake. It was a new hike for all of us and it was a success.

The hike was beautiful the entire time and I liked having multiple destinations along the way. The first lake, Nymph Lake, had water lilies scattered across the whole thing, making it quite magical. It was a great start to the hike and it was only about 1/2 mile in. Dream Lake was also pretty but not dazzling enough for a picture.

View along the trail


Then there was Emerald Lake, the last lake. It was my favorite by far. It’s situated in a valley between two lovely peaks. We got there around 5pm and the sun hit the water in such a way that the entire lake sparkled. I am not exaggerating, it sparkled and it was breathtaking. None of the pictures of the lake turned out well because it was so sunny the light washed everything out on the camera. That just means that you’ll have to go there yourself to see the beauty.

The three of us sat on a rock by the lake and just watched the water. I could have stayed there for a much longer time but we had to go eventually to check into our housing for the night and make some dinner.

Gene and I on the Bear Lake trail
View from the cottage deck

We stayed at this little cottage that was old and out dated but super cheap ($90, including tax). I knew it wasn’t going to not be that good but I was still disappointed with the outcome. Everything in our tiny room was clearly old and the whole place gave me a dirty feeling. At least we were only there to eat and sleep. The place has a lot of potential but with an older couple running it I don’t expect it to go anywhere. It did have a nice deck with a lovely view though and we out for a bit. We met another couple, probably in their 50s, who had just gotten married and were spending the week in Estes Park so that was sweet.

We made ourselves some quesadillas for dinner and then played a game of Pathfinder before heading to bed so we could get up early to hike Lawn Lake the next day.

Gene bench sitting at Nymph Lake
Purple fringe – new flower

Friday morning we got up at 6:45 and left the cottage at 7:20 to go on the 13 mile hike that is Lawn Lake.

It was such a lovely day for a hike. The weather wasn’t too warm and it was sunny on the way up and a bit cloudy on the way down. It wasn’t too hot either and there was a slight wind that was super pleasant. On top of that, we saw very few people along the trail which makes any hike much more enjoyable. I also saw a flower I had never seen before and one which I really liked, making the hike even more awesome. Sidney looked it up in her Colorado Flowers book later and discovered it’s called purple fringe, what a cool name is that?!


Almost to the lake, it’s just around the corner

We made it to the lake a little after 11 and hung out for a bit while we ate some lunch. Gene then decided he was going to hike another 1 1/2 miles up in order to see Crystal Lake, a lake neither of us have been to before.

So Sidney and I headed back down while Gene left on his own to explore new territory. It took us three hours to get back to the car and that included me having us take the wrong trail to get to the road. Sidney and I were pretty exhausted when we made it down. I even took a 10 minute nap, which is unheard of for me. We were expecting Gene to take an extra 1 1/2 hours after we got to the car so what a surprise when he showed up only 45 minutes after we got back!

Turns out he had jogged part of the way down, how insane. I was super glad he made it back safely though. We hopped in the car and started our way back. We stopped in Boulder for dinner and then finally made it back home right before 7pm.

It was a great two days and with the new knee braces I wore (my knees hate hiking) my knees were not nearly in as bad shape as they normally are. We probably shouldn’t have thrown Sidney into hiking with a 13 mile trail but we did and she made it, even if it was painful and tiring at times.

I am excited to go back to Bear Lake trail next time and do a loop, I think it’s 6 or 7 miles. But I can say with confidence that it will take me another 3 or 4 years before I’m gung ho about hiking Lawn Lake again. I love that there’s so much more to the Rocky Mountain National Park that I haven’t seen yet. It means more beautiful sights are in my future!



Gene mini-bench sitting at the cottage


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