Oh Hail No, aka What Happens When You Don’t Listen to the Weather Girl
[Rocky Mountain National Park, Jul 28, 2022]
After a leisurely morning in our little cabin, I finally got the gals out the door around 9 am. We stopped by the visitor center to get souvenirs and passport stamps, then headed to our trailhead. On the agenda for the day was a 3.6-mile hike to Emerald Lake, with two other lakes along the way. The weather was cloudy but warm and we hoped that we could finish our hike before the rain in the forecast showed up.
The first lake along the way was Nymph Lake, famous for the lilies that cover it.
Alberta Falls made for another pretty stop.
Dream Lake was next. It was so still!
At Emerald lake, we encountered way more people. We spent some time by the lake shore snacking and putting on our rain jackets. It had just started to rain. I thought we actually looked super cute on our colorful gear!
Halfway back down though, the rain got more intense and eventually turned into hail. We also heard thunder, which was the scariest part! Rain gear or no rain gear, there was no staying dry. All we could do was laugh and hustle down the trail. At least we were coming down! I felt bad for all the people who were coming up. Some of them had no rain gear with them whatsoever!
Luckily, all this rain and hail didn’t last too long and was gone by the time we were back at the trailhead. We made a beeline for Bear Lake since it was right there, then headed back to our car.
On the way back to our cabin, it started hailing again. I was so glad to be out of that weather! At least we saw a moose on the way home.
I was so grateful for the electric fireplace at our cabin! We turned it on and set up our gear in front on the barstools. It worked like a charm!
For dinner, we headed to Bird & Jim. This innovative restaurant serves some mean craft cocktails, and its food is mostly locally sourced. Its name is just as interesting, though. It’s named after Isabella Bird and her Estes Park mountain guide, Jim. Their story dates back to 1873.
Isabella Bird was a Scottish traveler. She broke gender boundaries and conventions of her time in her quest to reach Estes Park and summit Longs Peak, a 14-er and the highest point in Rocky Mountain national park. She used travel to break free from the constraints of Victorian society. Mountain Jim helped her up Longs Peak. He was one of the first western inhabitants of Estes Park, moving there in 1868. That same year, he lost an eye in a battle with a bear while hunting near Grand Lake, on the west side of the park. Jim navigated his way over two grueling days to the town of Grand Junction for care.
We hoped to embody the spirit of Isabella Bird on the hike we had planned for the next day. Sky Pond, a 10-miler, involved a class 3 scramble over a waterfall to reach the lake at the end. How successful we would be remained to he seen.