This is a part of Rocky Mountain series. Check out the previous posts:
I was on a trail up to Bear Lake, and the time wasn't on my side. I planned to return to the campsite and return to Denver, but I was late. There was no phone signal, so I couldn't tell my friend what was happening. But I couldn't hurry. The snow was all over the tracks, and one wrong move could get me sliding down the forest. Then I'd be super late.
After a couple of hours hiking uphill, I was there - Bear Lake. By this point of the hike, the temperature was almost freezing. I couldn't feel it fully because I had just ascended a couple hundred meters and was fine in a T-Shirt. In fact, I was steaming from all the walking, and you could clearly see the vapor around me. Other folks were wearing their winter boots and jackets 🧥
The whole lake was frozen, along with its shores. I didn't know this at the campsite, and I only had simple summer/spring clothes on me. I had to take a spin around the lake and see what was up. I knew I was late, but I struggled a lot to get to the lake just to leave it and return to the camp. That's when I took the photo in this post. Now it made sense why there were tons of people swarming the lake. The lake and the mountaintops were wonderful 🏔
I spent some time up there, but I had to get back. The tent was still up, and my clothes were all damp from the snow in the cold weather and sweating. The original plan was to walk back to the campsite, but this was not an option because I'd probably arrive somewhere in the afternoon at the camp. Luckily, the Rocky Mountain National Park has buses (shuttles, they call them) that move folks around the park. That is how busy the park gets - they have their own transit lines 😂
Before I hopped onto one of the buses, a somewhat old park ranger approached me and asked me about my cameras. He was into photography a long time ago, and we discussed how charming it is to see the photos once they are developed. Honestly, this wasn't the first time someone had done this in these 6 days. I got approached multiple times and had interesting conversations based on these two cameras that kept me company. This left me with the general sentiment that American folks are generally curious and unafraid to converse. I tried to do the same from then on.
I parted ways with the old ranger and hopped onto a bus that took me back to the campsite. The ride was around 20-30 mins, full of tourists of all ages and nationalities. I felt bad because I was fully drenched in water and sweat + I had almost two days of no showering + the smoke from the fires and the cooking was probably all over me.
It's not like I didn't want to shower. I did, but there were no showers at the last two campsites 😂 The lack of water supply in some US parks is tricky. And I don't blame them. Some of the parks are really remote and in the wild. You have to plan out where you'll get clean.
I arrived at the camp and packed all my stuff. I quickly changed clothes and drove to Denver, where my friend waited for me for a couple of hours. He was worried, so I contacted him when I got reception. I broke my rule, got comfortable, and now I was speeding from time to time to arrive faster 🏎
We met after 6 days of me traveling and camping alone, and we had a huge meal to celebrate the reunion. It was now time to head north to Wyoming for the longest camping spot on our trip. The destination was the oldest national park in the world. We're talking about Yellowstone National Park. The drive from Denver to Yellowstone was long, so we had to stop to sleep in between.
Our next stop was the Sinks Canyon, where we set camp for the night. It was raining, but it was great. It wasn't that type of rain to get you soaked, but more just to make the nature around you glow more. The last photo of this post is from the morning after camping in the canyon. The tent held up and didn't leak anywhere. We were rested and ready to drive north to our new campground in Yellowstone.
Join me tomorrow, where I'll share stories from Yellowstone 🙈