Monday, August 13, 2012

Rocky Mountains Day 5: August 5, 2012

We pulled into Wild Basin Trailhead. Mabel was a little nervous - this was going to be our first backpacking trip; also, there were bears in the region.

We hiked to Calypso Cascades, then had lunch at Ouzel Falls.

It was crowded being Sunday and a popular destination. Dave took a bazillion pictures of a squirrel who had absconded with an apple core.

We hiked up to Ouzel Lake - it was an exposed and difficult hike.

We set up camp. The lake was slightly disappointing because it wasn't what Mabel had imagined an alpine lake would be. It looked like a nice regular lake that just happened to be in the alpine region. But there were also these anglers fishing and shouting at each other across the lake. It was really obnoxious. Dave took a bazillion more pictures of squirrels. A guy came over and stood with his arms akimbo and looked at the lake saying, "Wow, what a beautiful lake. Wow, I am just wasting time with my camera. This is so beautiful. You just can't capture this with a camera." We overheard him talking with his wife about going to Bluebird Lake, saying, "Oh, is Bluebird Lake the one to go to? Because you didn't even read about this lake and this is beautiful and I don't know how you are going to top this." We remembered that the nice backcountry ranger said that Bluebird was the lake to see, too. So even though it was 1 pm and the lake was another 2.5 miles, we decided to do it. It was strenuous. We took multiple breaks. At one point, a man descending down the trail looked sorry for us and said, "Only a little bit further." We must have looked pretty beaten down. We ascended and ascended, and passed ridiculous cascades and mountain-side waterfalls in the distance, like something out of the Elf City in Lord of the Rings.

Everytime we got to the top of a slope, there was yet another slope to hike up. We were exhausted. There were some wildflowers to keep up our morale.

We finally made it to the end, and it was totally worth it. This was the alpine lake Mabel was looking for.

We didn't know exactly how it was different - maybe beacuse it was ringed by mountains or more desolate and isolated and smaller - but it was stunningly beautiful. We spent as much time there as we dared before heading down. We took a shortcut down, and Dave was really excited because it actually worked. We were so tired that we couldn't cook dinner - we just had hot chocolate, cheese, crackers, salami, and Clif bars by the creek. We tumbled into our sleeping bags even before the light had gone away. On my way back to the tent, Mabel saw 3 mule deer. They regarded each other for quite a while. It reminded her of Yeats' The Stolen Child because of the wildness in their demeanor. We slept for 12 hours. In the middle of the night, Mabel thought she heard hoofsteps by our tent and something nudging the tent cover. She wished we had slept with the cover off, although with the deer seeming so wild, maybe it was better not to know that we had been so close to one another.

No comments: