Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park - Fern Lake Trailhead

Early evening low elevation loop run from the Moraine Park Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park.  

Time: 1:10
Distance: 7.2 miles
Effort: Moderate
Body: Good
Weather: Sunny & Warm

Got up to Rocky Mountain National Park mid-day on Friday after a busy morning of work and packing. Definitely learned (again) that I need to get better organized so everything isn't always being crammed into the car at the last minute before camping trips. I envy the hyper-organized...

After a morning sojourn down the Cache le Poudre River just west of FoCo with four other families and their kids, we returned to the park and I snuck away for a bit o' the singletrack. 

From the campground, I ran the 1.5 miles over to the Fern Lake Trailhead and jumped on the Fern Lake Trail, which runs for about 1.8 miles along the Big Thompson River. Once I hit The Pool and the junction Cub Lake Trail junction, I hung a left and climbed up a few hundred feet, greeted a resting group of Boy Scouts and cruised by the lily pad-filled Cub Lake. 

Just as I was passing the lake, I flushed a rock ptarmigan on the right side of the trail. I stopped to watch it zip away and then saw another ptarmigan perched atop a boulder on my left. This one wasn't nearly as jumpy and pretty much stayed put as I slowly crept by just two feet away. Just past ptarmigan #2, I saw a pair of pint-sized ptarmigan chicks slinking around the logs and shrubs along the trail. A lovely wildlife moment.

From Cub Lake, the trail undulates through the forest before emerging at the Cub Lake Trailhead, about .75 miles east of the Fern Lake Trailhead. From here, it was an easy half-mile jog back to the campground where dinner was just about ready.  Perfect.

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