Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park- Part 2

Don't worry. Only 3 parts to this story.

After our adventure on Flattop Mountain, we had a slightly better idea of what elevation gain and distance was manageable for us. Our first day's hike was about all we could handle, so we didn't want to do anything much more intense, but we did want a challenge. Enter: Sky Pond.

On paper, this looks totally doable, right? 4.5 miles each way, far less elevation gain than the day before, and a slightly different part of the park than the day before. Seemed like a winner. Well. Yes and no. If you read that link, turns out that part of the "hike" to Sky Pond involves a 100 foot steep vertical climb/scramble up wet rocks. We did not know that. The first part of the hike is gorgeous, with only very mild elevation changes.
Gorgeous Alberta Falls

More falls. more beauty.
Loch Vale, one of the top 10 prettiest places I've ever been

Then it got real. Real steep. And snowy

And then the slippery vertical...

And we had to climb this too (hi Nick!). No climbing pictures because it was too treacherous.

Made it to Mirror Lake


And finally, Sky Pond!

Sandwiches were earned.

This place just does not quit.

The climb back down was even more emotionally draining than the way up because steep verticals feel steeper on the way back down. Plus, increased fatigue meant we had to be constantly cautious with our footing. Regardless, it was an unforgettable day and well worth the journey. Sky Pond was one of the most remote places I've ever been. I imagine the waterfall climb scares many people away, so even on a picture-perfect summer Saturday, there were only 5 or 6 other people up there with us. Such a perfect day. After showers, we went to a Nepalese (strikingly similar to Indian...) restaurant for dinner and ate our faces off and got ready for our third and final day of adventures. 

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