Estes Park, CO
On Sunday, after giving Jessica a day to get use to the altitude, we decided to hike in the Wild Basin Area in the southeast corner of Rocky Mountain National Park. There are a number of trails in this area with lengthy hikes leading to many small lakes. We decided to take the trail to the Calypso Cascades.
The trail runs right along the North St. Vrain Creek, which was quite full of winter snow melt.
After a short hike we came to the Lower Copeland Falls, where the water rages over the rocks.
A family hiking in front of us were disappointed when they came to the sign below. It forced them to take their small herd of Alpacas back to the parking lot, as they didn’t want the rangers to catch them on the trail!
At one point we crossed a small bridge over the raging rapids of the St. Vrain.
The trail was almost completely clear of snow except for a couple of spots.
We knew when we set out that the bridge below Calypso Cascades had washed out and was in the process of being rebuilt, so we were not surprised when we reached that point.
We could have easily crossed the creek on the steel girders already in place, but there were other hikers there and we didn’t want to be outlaws. So we just stopped for a quick lunch at a nice spot above the new bridge.
With the bridge out, we had two choices for the rest of the hike. The crack young navigation team quickly assembled for a review of their high tech global positioning equipment (a park map) and made some complicated calculations.
One option was to return back down on the trail we just hiked. The other option was to take a trail to the east that would eventually circle back to the parking area. This way was much longer and involved hiking up some fairly steep elevation, but the navigation team decided to test the lungs of the young hiker from Pennsylvania, so off we went.
This trail led up along the side of the ridge, giving us some great views of the snow covered mountains to our west.
After climbing up to 9,600 ft. (the trailhead was about 8,500 ft.) we stopped for a brief snack before making our descent. The return hike was uneventful (ok, at one point the nimble hiker lost focus while looking for wildlife and did a bellyflop dive onto the trail) and we returned to the Jeep. Our newest hiker showed the benefit of all the running she has done in the past year, as the altitude didn’t slow her down a bit!