I normally call an end to the backpacking season by early September. This year the weather seemed to nice I decided to try one more night with the aspens starting to change. I chose the Abyss trail on the west side of the Mount Evans wilderness area for it’s easy access and what I hoped would lead to some stunning scenery.
I didn’t have much time to research the area, so I was constantly on the lookout for decent camp sites. I came across one I liked just about 3 miles up the trail and decided to settle in. I ended up wishing I had kept pushing up the trail, as I’m sure the views near treeline would have been fantastic, but as you can see it was a pretty nice location.
Today happened to be a Lockheed Martin off-Friday that both Lara and I could actually take off, as well as one of many Douglas County School District off days. We decided to take advantage of the time off, the beautiful weather, and the time of year to go see some of the fall colors in the mountains. We also had the benefit of a free national parks pass due to Alex being in 4th grade, so we set our sites on Rocky Mountain National Park.
We missed the peak colors, as a fair percentage of the trees at altitude had already shed their leaves, but we found some nice patches nonetheless. We drove the Peak-to-Peak scenic highway on the way up to the park to add to the majestic views. Inside the park, we stopped a few places along the way for some brief hikes and scrambling around rocks. At the continental divide, we walked around Poudre Lake and saw a school of trout huddling in the shallows near the inlet. They were so close to shore we thought we could grab a few.
We found a few nice patches of color along the west side of the park near the Grand Lake entrance. After a few pictures, we turned around and headed back over the pass in search of evening wildlife. We saw a few stray elk along the way, but I guess we were a little early in the rut to see some of the larger herds that can form. However, just as we were leaving the park, we did hear a bull bugling, and stopped to find him about a hundred yards off the road with a handful of cows.
Just about a quarter mile future up the road, we ran into a traffic jam. We assumed the crowd had found more elk, but as we approached we realized they had chased a black bear up a tree. As much as the boys wanted to stop and watch, it didn’t seem like too good of an idea to join a bunch of people swarming around the base of a tree with a bear clinging to some small branches. We decided to continue on and call it a day.