Wednesday, July 10, 2013

“Biathlon” RMNP Style

The other night we drove out the road to Fern Lake Trailhead and Dad thought it would be a nice bike ride.  The road went right through the meadow with views of both the mountains and the meadow!  So today we decided we’d take the bikes and park at the Moraine Park Visitor Center and ride our bikes to the trailhead and then hike and ride our bikes back.  A “biathlon” of sorts!

We realized that the road, though nice for riding bikes on, was short – only 2 miles from the visitor center to the trailhead – not really worthy of loading the bikes and getting them on the car and everything, so to extend our bike ride we took a ride through the Moraine Park Campground.

The first part of the bike ride was a steep downhill! That was fun, but we knew we’d have to go back up it later.  We continued downhill into the campground and took a ride around.  Not very many big sites, but some very nice sites!  The roads in the campground were mostly gravel, and I think the trails we walked yesterday were in better shape than the road in the campground!  I bet the trail sees more traffic!

After our campground tour we continued down the hill.  It seemed like it was downhill the whole way and it was fun, but I was worried about the trip back! It was already hot with no shade! 

When we were almost to the trailhead we passed a bush with big flowers on it and there were at least 2, maybe more, hummingbirds!  They were flying around so fast they were hard to see and impossible to get a picture of!

When we got to the trailhead we locked the bikes and headed toward Cub Lake! We walked through the meadow and it was filled with wildflowers! It was mostly flat too!


After a mile or so we started going up hill and soon the forest changed, the trees got thicker and there was lush green undergrowth!

P1130845After what seemed like a very long 2 miles, we finally arrived at Cub Lake!

P1130849And we were greeted by ducks:

Cub Lake Ducks!   







And storm clouds:


We sat on a rock and had a snack and watched the storm roll in.  It got very windy and we could hear thunder in the distance, and occasionally directly overhead.  Soon it started to rain and we donned our raingear and protected the electronics and headed down the trail. 

The next part of the trail had burned in the Fern Lake Fire and was all charred trees! There were great views of a very colorful rocky mountain on the way down but we have no pictures because it was raining.  The rain continued the whole mile to The Pool, a nice waterfall on the Big Thompson River. 

We stopped for lunch at The Pool, hiding under a pine tree because it was still raining a little.  After lunch we continued down the Fern Lake Trail, alongside the Big Thompson River.  The Big Thompson River is the same river that was flowing down the canyon we went through to get here from Loveland. 


Along the way there was a cool rock formation called The Arch


The rain clouds threatened the whole way back to the parking area and we were constantly taking off and putting on the raingear and stowing and unstowing the electronics!

Soon we were at the Fern Lake Trailhead Parking area and we had to walk a mile up the road to get back to our bikes.  It was a dirt road so very much like the trail! 

I was a bit worried about the bike ride back, it was 2 miles and in my head it was all uphill, and the sun was intense and hot! As soon as I climbed on my bike I knew it wasn’t going to be bad, riding the bike was like sitting and that felt good after walking! Then, luckily for me, the wind kicked up and was whipping through the valley and that cooled things off, even though it made it impossible to hear oncoming cars! Also luckily for me I remembered it wrong and it was only a little uphill – or only a little difficult uphill anyway! I only had to get off and walk the bike twice!


The total mileage for the day was 6 miles of biking and 6 miles of hiking!

To see more pictures check out my album on Google+: RMNP "Biathalon"

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