“Are we almost to the lake dad? Are we almost to the lake dad?” This was the theme as Linda, Zach and I made our way 2.5 miles to Cub Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. I do not want to give the impression that Zach was complaining, but rather, after 2.5 miles of wet, mud, and snow pack, he was ready to reach our half way point – Cub Lake. Seven-year-old legs can only carry you so far and
Zach was quickly reaching the point where he needed to turn back. I was also being selfish because if Zach bonked, I was the one that would end up giving a piggyback ride. With the trail conditions, piggyback would be an interesting adventure. “Keep going bud”, I kept saying to reassure him. “I am sure the lake is right over that hill”.
It was a beautiful day for a hike with sky sunny and the temperature hovering at a balmy 70-degrees Fahrenheit. Early spring in Rocky Mountain National Park provides for plenty of varying trail conditions. We started the hike in Moraine Park with semi-dry trail conditions but as we started to gain elevation the snowmelt
turned the trail to mostly wet and then eventually snow pack. This provided some interesting hiking as we slipped and skated our way up the hill to Cub Lake.
The views were gorgeous but there was a strong odor of burnt wood. Last year a fire came through Moraine valley and we were right in the middle of the burn scar for most of the hike. The burned and charred trees did not reduce the beauty of the hike but if you rubbed up against a tree, you walked away with a nice patch of black soot on your clothing. We were also not alone on our hike. We encountered a playful marmot and a group of snakes sunning themselves directly on the trail. We spent 15 to 20 minutes in seven-year-old boy heaven as we watched the snakes entangle and slither on the trail and hillside.
After several “I am sure the lake is right over that hill,” comments, we reached our goal. Cub Lake still had ice but we were excited we made it. I took some scouting photos while Linda and Zach rested. After 20 minutes
we made our way back to car. Zach never did bonk and we made it the 2.5 miles back to the car without even taking a rest. Never once did I say, “The car is just around that corner”.
Postscript: The original plan was to scout Cub Lake with Linda and Zach and then hike the same route in the dark the next morning to capture sunrise. After scouting the location and getting back to the car, I decided to also scout the views from Storm Pass. Comparing the two locations, Storm Pass held better photo opportunities than Cub Lake. So Storm Pass was the next day’s goal.
Before sunrise I headed to Storm Pass and waited for the sun to rise. Below are two photos from Storm Pass. The two photos show the same shot with the first photo being the early morning sunrise shot and the next photo being the shot from the previous afternoon. You can clearly see the difference light makes in a photo. All said, it was a great morning to be out with a camera.