Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mills Lake

After a week of watching discouraging weather reports, I spoke with an RMNP ranger on Friday who assured me that conditions for Saturday were supposed to be pretty good in the morning, with possible precipitation around 3:00. So I rented a pair of snowshoes at the Lakewood REI on my way home from work, then headed out a little before 7:00 this morning for another try at reaching Mills Lake. The shot above is from around 9 a.m., and you can see that the snow didn't get the memo that it wasn't supposed to be there until the afternoon.

The snow was falling pretty lightly, though. And more importantly, there was virtually no wind and the temperature was in the 30s. So overall, conditions were pretty good.

I'll warn you now; this is the most color in this entire post. The deep snow and overcast skies made for a pretty bland tableau overall. But these buds showed that spring will eventually make it here, too.

I almost didn't make it to the lake again, due in no small part to hard-to-find signs like this one. Fortunately I connected with another couple of hikers right when I had choices to make on which trail to take who steered me in the right direction.

And then, there it was! Admittedly, I've seen some more striking photos of this vista. But I was just happy have finally actually found the elusive Mills Lake.

When you don't have color to work with in your photos, go for silhouettes!

The sun broke through enough to actually help this dead tree cast a feeble shadow.

I lugged my new tripod along and it was a breeze to set up and use. I'm looking forward to bringing it back out when I've got some slightly more photo-friendly conditions.

It wasn't too hard to find my way back after I was done hanging out at the lake. My tracks were the only fresh ones there.

Long-time readers of this blog may recall my affinity for pictures of dead wood ...

The posted round-trip distance for this hike is about five miles, but the winter trail is supposedly a mile shorter. So I'm not exactly sure how far I walked, but I do know I was back at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead in less than three hours. And that's with stopping frequently to take pictures, a lengthy break at Mills Lake, and more time than I would have liked to figure out how to get my rental snowshoes on right at the start.

But an enjoyable three hours it was! I'm already looking forward to going back in warmer weather to see how things look without all the snow. :)

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