So what do most couples do on their Anniversary? Go to dinner, the spa or the theater? We chose to hike the Timber Lake Trail inside of Rocky Mountain National Park. The trailhead is located to the east of and just before the Colorado River Trailhead. And after quick drive into the park, we were set to start our adventure. However, just before heading up the trail, we decided to grab Stella’s trekking poles, and we were very glad we did – more on that to come.
The hike starts off relatively easy for the first 3/4 of a mile up to Beaver Creek, a small mountain creek that cascades toward the Colorado River. Stella explored the contents of the creek for a few minutes before we continued on. From here the trail began a steady climb for the remainder of the hike. The trail offered great views into the Never Summer Range as we trekked in southerly direction before arriving at a small alpine meadow. The meadow contains giant boulders, which would provide a great spot to rest or have a picnic along side the trail. In addition the mountain was chalked full of wildflowers beginning their bloom.
Our next obstacle: the landslide, located about 2.5 miles into the hike. We continued along the normal route searching for an easy way to traverse through the fallen trees, and a mountain that is still moving. Stella did not want to go any further, as to avoid risking injury, so we backtracked to an alternate route. The alternate route involved a very steep climb, and by steep, I am referring to near vertical. And this where Stella’s trekking poles came in handy – without them, the climb would have been almost impossible. After bushwhacking and climbing to the top of the landslide, we ventured into the debris field, looking for a safe path. After about 50 yards, our judgment dictated that we turn around and head back down to the trail. This presented another challenge in itself. The trail was too steep to trek straight down, so we had to create our own switchbacks in order to make it to the bottom safely.
Back at the trailhead we felt accomplished even though we did not make it to Timber Lake. We trekked a bit over 6 miles with an elevation gain of 1200 feet. Overall, this hike would be rated on the more difficult side of moderate due to the obstacle course created by the landslide. I will revisit the hike later in the year.