Wednesday, July 5, 2017

High Alpine Lake Adventures, Continued... Rocky Mountain National Park

 Since the rivers were all still melting out, we decided to hit another high alpine lake. Rob and I got lucky and scored 3 nights at Glacier Basin Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park on a walk up... what were the chances of that!?


That gave us the opportunity to plan a day up at a lake I've been wanting to fish since last time I was in Colorado. We got there pretty early for parking, and headed up the trail... but not without fishing a few holes in the river first.


I grabbed a nice brookie, and released him back to the river, mostly because we had a long day and it was way too early to be keeping any fish - invasive species or not.


The trail was dry, in great shape, and we made very good time to the first junction. The river was raging up here, being that the water is forced between solid rock in a rather impressive canyon that has some interesting features to it.


All this water continued to provide life for the wildflowers, which we were truly enjoying.


The hike was not easy, gaining some elevation with a few intense switchbacks. I was slowly beginning to acclimate, but still needed a few more days to tackle this kind of hike with relative ease.


A few waterfalls provided good places for rest and reminded us just how much water was still moving down into the main stems of the rivers.


After what seemed like more than the claimed mileage to the lake, we were still just below it, and we began to hear thunder. I decided it was worth waiting it out, and luckily the storm passed. We were soon at the lake, and very happy to be there.


Another small storm rolled in as we took a moment for water and some lunch. As soon as it passed, we fished and I was immediately rewarded with a nice Cutthroat.


The lake was calm in between bouts of strong wind, and that provided just the time needed to get a few good casts and drifts out to the obviously hungry trout.


Rob and I each caught a good number of these beauties, and we released them quickly back to their homes in the lake.


I was doing much better at altitude on this hike than the last one, which was a good sign.


The good fishing helped too, and I did my best to adapt as the fishing turned on and off for the remainder of the afternoon.


Some of the Cutties appeared almost ready to spawn, and in the outlet we saw what looked like the beginning of spawning behavior. Leaving those fish alone, I moved to take some photos and enjoy the surroundings. 


Fish were feeding on the surface to very small bugs, but were also taking manipulated flies down deep. 


The lake was tranquil for the afternoon, and we fished almost all the way around.


The colors of these fish were just stunning, and I am really glad we had a shot at fishing this particular lake under these prime conditions.


Every time the fishing turned off for a bit, I just looked up and took it all in...


And then the sky began to darken, so we headed down. 


Just as we arrived at the flat part of the trail, the clouds closed in and began to threaten the arrival of another storm.


The afternoon rains provided good moisture to go along with the melt-out water, and we hiked through a good amount of greenery... 


 It rained for the last half mile or so, but we had our trekking umbrellas and stayed dry. It made for a nice walk out... accentuating the smells of this different and unfamiliar forest.


That night we enjoyed stellar views of the sunset with dramatic clouds of all different types. Glacier Basin campground ended up being a great spot to camp, and I hope I can come back here to camp again soon!


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