Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado – About using the seat of trousers

The Rocky Mountains are with more than 4,500 km length from Mexico to Alaska the longest mountain range on earth, although not the highest. But in the relative south of the massif, in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, more than 40 peaks rise above 12,000 feet. Some of the park ways have been closed for the winter, but some of them are still open, among them the most beautiful part of the park, the Bear Lake Area in around 3,000 m elevation. The hiking paths are icy, we were warned. And really, the trail around the lake is slippery in shady spots. Precedent snowfall, thaw in daytime with night frost created slippery areas. The lake is situated very romantic and picture-postcard-kitschy between the mountains, but some screeching, yelling, loudly laughing hikers on the other strand somehow disturb me. I would prefer to enjoy the mountain panorama quietly. But in the back of the lake everything turns out differently. In the beginning I am at a loss, then furious, and in the end I can’t help laughing myself. Small waterfalls spread dewdrops over the tough blanket of snow in daytime, and freeze to a solid ice rink at night. In this area are small ascends and slopes that turn to be nearly insurmountable with black ice. At first I don’t make any progress, then I try with speed, but this doesn’t help. Over and over I slide back. Eventually I crawl uphill on all fours, desperately looking for hold at small stones, clods of earth, and tiny branches. I look around: Nobody there to take pictures. Joerg is busy with his own advancement. Downhill the planned use of the seat of trousers is the least dangerous method. There are quite a few waterfalls, ascends, and slopes here…

Sprague Lake is only 400 m of elevation deeper, but climatically in a completely different zone. The sunny loop is nearly dry. Only the surface of the lake is for the most part frozen; trout get some sun seeking warmth. Rocky Mountain Park is incredibly colourful today: The sky is cobalt blue, the slopes grey stone, and the peaks snow-white. The conifer forests are deeply green, the grass yellow, and the lakes clear. There are many elk around, huge herds with cocky bucks. The black bears already hibernate and the coyotes bark and howl. What a beauty.

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