Saturday started out in usual fashion with our homemade breakfast burritos and espresso paired with old fashion donut holes. But as we near the end of the season we had to tend to our travel trailer before moving onto the days activity. This meant grabbing a ladder and climbing to clean the roof our travel trailer, starting from the rear and working towards the front applying a cleaner and conditioner, scrubbing and rinsing as we move along. Flip sides and work towards the back and about an hour later we were done. Not so bad, but the forecast was calling for rain followed by snow overnight. The weather has been fairly uncooperative over the past few weekends for any significant distant hiking and after a quick check of the forecast we determine the weather should hold off until we complete our hike around Monarch Lake. Unlike last weekend the gales of November had subsided however it was still cool enough that a t-shirt alone wouldn’t cut it, trekking along our usual route we tell Aspen that she is going to be able to swim today, not where I recently fell in the creek though. She will have to wait until we get closer to the bridge over Buchanan Creek. After passing through one the picture perfect fall portions of the trail we arrive at the creek, Aspen dips her toes in the water and we continue on our journey. Again, spilling the beans we let Aspen know that she will get one more opportunity to get wet once we get to Arapaho Creek further up the trail. Outside of the beautiful fall weather this hike is relatively easy and very enjoyable. The loop gives you access to many side treks if one were to be more adventurous and given the time. Once again, we cross the bridge over Arapaho Creek and give Aspen one last opportunity for the season to wet her paws before we complete our hike. After our short respite at the creek we carry on climbing gradually as the lake below come into view, with no wind at the moment it appears as glass with the exception of the ever present trout breaking the surface looking for a quick meal. Crossing the dam and heading back to the trailhead the first rain drops start to fall, our timing was perfect. Back in the Tahoe we drive down to the roaring fork trailhead looking out into Lake Granby. Wanting to view more of the fall colors we head over to Willow Creek Reservoir and to our amazement the reservoir has easily been drawn down 7 to 10 feet. Driving back as far we can go we are still able to view the Aspen groves in there golden yellow display against grey autumn skies. With the rain picking up we journey back to Base Camp.
Sunday we awoke to thunder snow, which we enjoyed while eating our breakfast. With the snow letting up and the clouds breaking we jumped into the Tahoe and drove into Rocky Mountain National Park as far as we were able as the road is closed at the Colorado River Trailhead. Enjoying the views of the freshly fallen snow across the upper valley and mountains one cannot wonder how much longer before winter actually settles in for the season. `