Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lily Mountain

I decided to cap off my visit to RMNP last Saturday with an actual hike -- something with a little distance and a little elevation gain.  Once again I let 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver be my guide, and it pointed me to Lily Mountain.

The trailhead is easy to find, right along Route 7 heading south from Estes Park.

Pasque flowers
Pasque flowers were in bloom along the trail's lower stretches.  Down by my house, some trees are about a month behind with their leafing out.  I wonder how late these are?

Dark-eyed Junco
Not much in the way of wildlife along the route.  Just a couple of Dark-eyed Juncos.

As the trail approaches the summit it gets harder and harder to pick up.  I spent a couple of minutes in one spot looking for a cairn before I finally noticed this sign, cleverly hidden right on a tree trunk.

The final stretch is a scramble.  Camera had to go in the bag after taking this shot so I could use my hands.

A really nice payoff awaits when you reach the end, though.  Terrific 360-degree views, enhanced this day by some remaining snow and puffy clouds.

Rocky Mountain National Park
A nice young couple was already enjoying the view when I arrived, and graciously allowed me to include them in a shot.  After typing that, I realized how old the phrase "nice young couple" makes me sound.  Gah.

Pasque flowers
A brief shower of rain and sleet on the return trip helped to brighten up the rocky terrain.  But not as much as the pasque flowers did.

After a fairly brisk start the steep, snow-covered final mile really slowed me down.  Took me right around 2 1/2 hours to cover the roughly four miles and 1,000' of elevation gain, which disappointed me a bit.  I'm going to have start hitting the P90X a little more often again if I want to be in shape to finally tackle Longs Peak in a few months!  Still, a satisfying start to the season.  And a nice cap to a terrific day.

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