Monarch Lake Hike with Aspen

Saturday, Aug 5th – By Stella. Saturday morning, we partook in our usual ritual of eating our breakfast slowly, while sipping on our coffee as we each indulged in reading our books. Larry drinks an Americano, which is half water & half espresso. I (Stella) make a mixture of plain unsweetened almond milk, espresso, & a tablespoon of Starbuck’s hazelnut syrup. I used to be a lover of Starbuck’s espresso, but since moving to Colorado, I am hooked on Dazbog espresso!
Once finished with our breakfasts, we took off for our favorite hiking spot: Monarch Lake. Yes, we have hiked that trail a dozen times, but it never fails to impress. The terrain can be extremely rocky in some areas; however, there isn’t much of an elevation gain, making the hiking experience very relaxing. And to make things even better, Aspen joined us! She was full of spunk that morning! We arrived at the trailhead a little after 10am, & thought that we would beat the rush…how wrong we were! We had to park quite a ways down the road & then walk about ½  mile to the trailhead. The trail was packed, but not to the point where you were stepping on people’s heels the whole time either. The weather was pleasantly cool. Aspen trotted right out front the entire time, & appeared to be enjoying herself. Although, I think her favorite parts of the trek are when she gets to walk around in the river beds. She dashes for the water, lies down & then quickly gets back up, realizing how cold the water is. The trek was just shy of five miles, & we completed it roughly an 1 ½ hours. By the time we were finished, it had started to warm up just a bit. As we drove off, the parked line of cars extended back even further. Thank goodness we were done!
Back at the camper, we munched on snacks as we watched the rain clouds move in. We had planned to swim Aspen that day as well, but Mr. Weather had other plans. For the remainder of the day, we read books, worked on our computers, & played Phase 10 & Boggle. I will leave out the information about who won those games… After a delicious dinner of Chicken Tinga Tacos, and more games, we headed to bed.
Sunday, Aug 6th
After our Sunday morning breakfast ritual, we took off with Aspen down to her swimming spot on Shadow Mountain Lake. She just never tires, & we are so thankful for that. Aspen swam & swam, fetching her waterball close to 40 times. The moment we arrived back at the camper, the rain hit. Another rainy day in Grand Lake. After lunch, Larry & I took off into town to nose around in some of the stores. We had high hopes of going kayaking, but again, Mr. Weather had other plans. For the remainder of the day, we pursued our own interests.
As typical, there was a mother moose with her baby lounging back behind our camper. We watched them move from spot to spot, grazing upon the willows abundant around our campground. It is amazing how quickly the calf is growing. They certainly appear to be gentle & docile, but do not be fooled blogging friends. They can be even more dangerous than bears…especially a mother with a calf!
Packing up, we headed home early enough to rent a movie (The Lost City of Z). As our heads hit the pillow, we were already dreaming about the next weekend at Base Camp Grand Lake.

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