We did not know what we were in for today when we headed out to Rocky Mountain National Park for a day of family hiking. For starters, it was 48 degrees when we woke up this morning! We also did not realize how truly busy the park is during the summer.
We had planned on hiking the Bear Lake trail, but we got a late start and found that the trailhead was already packed, with dozens of tourist being dropped off by shuttle every 15 minutes. Not really the relaxing scene we were hoping for. So we decide to turn around and drive until we saw a trailhead that looked less crowded.
By this time, both kids were crying and ready to get out of the truck. Josh had missed his morning nap and Abby was whining the mantra, “I don’t want to have fun today!” Things were off to a great start. Thankfully, we found a pull-off spot and hiked down to the trailhead for Storm Pass. Clouds were gathering over the mountains as high winds whipped around us and I thought to myself, in a sarcastic tone, “This is going to be AWESOME.”
Yep, that’s my son. He WAS hiking naked before we took this picture. All I can say is we are a wild and free bunch! And that he poured an entire water bottle on himself before we started the hike so that I had to strip him down to keep him from crying.
The trail from Storm Pass to Sprague Lake was actually really nice. It’s mostly an equestrian trail, with soft sand and few big rocks. There was lots of tree cover to block the winds and the sun came out to warm us up. The kids even got out of their packs and hiked on their own for a bit.
Anyway, less than a mile down the trail, we found ourselves at Sprague Lake. It’s a pretty lake with views of the continental divide. There is a half-mile packed gravel trail around the lake, perfect for kids! We saw a few chipmunks and a trout, but mostly tons of tourists. Apparently this lake is popular for family picnics and such as there is park access right from the road.
After going around the lake once, we decided to hike back to our truck the same way we came. We saw two trail riding groups and very few other hikers. It was really nice! I did make the mistake of pointing out the horse manure to Abby. The whole trek back she was obsessed with pointing to every pile of poop and fussing about it being too close to her. Meanwhile, I had to keep Josh from picking it up and eating it.
We made it back to the truck just as the wind was pushing rain clouds over the mountains. I could feel the cold mist of rain on my back as we loaded the kids up into the truck. Success! We had survived our first Rocky Mountain family hike… and missed the rain to boot!