After a brutal hike the day before, Jessica and I were looking for something a bit easier. Having explored Boulder, we decided to head north to Rocky Mountain National Park. For some reason, neither Jessica nor I were all that excited about the park. We were still eager to visit, but we expected it to be fairly ho-hum.
Shortly after entering the park, I noticed a large and oddly shaped tree branch moving about 30 feet off the side of the road. A few seconds later we realized that the moving tree limb was actually the enormous rack of an elk. We quickly pulled over to the side of the road and I whipped out my telephoto lens to capture this guy chewing contently on some delicious grass.
Next we drove to the trailhead of our hike: an easy 5 mile out-and-back trek through Moraine Park to Cub Lake. Astute readers might notice that this is almost the same distance as our climb yesterday. This hike however, only gained 600 feet while Green Mountain was well over 2000. We didn’t know much about the hike but we were eager to get started and loosen up our legs.
Right away we ran into a pack of elk. The trail skirted along the base of a huge glacial moraine with views of an epic meadow. As we followed the trail, the elk walked across the meadow as if they were posing for some nature photo shoot.
After skirting the moraine, the trail turned into a canyon of beaver ponds and began a slow climb through pine and aspen trees. We passed interesting rock formations, beautiful wildflowers, wildfire-scorched trees, and the smallest snake ever.
After a steeper climb that had us breathing hard, we arrived at beautiful Cub Lake. The snow-capped peaks were wonderful eye candy as we sunbathed on the lakeside rocks.
We lingered for a long while before making the return trip to the trailhead. The trip home had us facing the wide-open meadow of Moraine Park, and we enjoyed strolling along the trail just as much a second time.
After returning to our car, we made the 1.5 hour long drive back to Boulder. Because of flood damage, we had to take a lessor traveled route through an crazy canyon. I had driven the canyon on the way up to RMNP, but on the way home I set up the GoPro for an awesome time-lapse of the drive. Don’t miss the school bus in front of us!
In the end, RMNP greatly exceeded our expectations, and Jessica and I both remarked that we would like to return in the future and try some additional hikes. But this time, unfortunately, we did not have the chance to linger any longer.