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1996 Rocky Mountain National Park Photos

In August 1996, the NSS Convention was held in Salida, Colorado. The following week, Linda joined me in Estes Park for a week of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. RMNP is one of my favorite parks. The Front Range of the Rockies is particularly striking at this location ... probably why they put the park there.

We spent the week doing day hikes. While the main areas of the park are very crowded in mid-summer, the higher elevation trails are generally free of the crowds. Only more serious hikers try for the peaks or the Continental Divide. The higher trails have always provided a satisfying wilderness experience for me. The tundra flowers, on the mountaintops, are in bloom for only 3-4 weeks, from mid-July to the first week of August.

Mid-week on this trip, Linda and I made the hike up Flattop Mountain, then up to Hallett Peak, across the Divide past Otis Peak, to the top of Andrew's Glacier. We sidestepped down the glacier, resting a while at the tarn below. Then we climbed down to the regular hiking trails for the trip back to the parking area at Bear Lake.

When we left at 7:30 in the morning, there were already many people converging at Bear Lake. As we hiked the Flattop trail, the people were left behind. We passed a few groups on the way up, including a lone hiker from Alaska. Once Ron heard of our plans, he joined us for the rest of the trip. On top of Flattop, we encountered one other group of three hikers. From the time the three of us started to climb Hallett Peak, until we reached the parking area late that evening, we met no other hikers, except for a lone Park Ranger patrolling the Divide trail. Now, that's solitude in the midst of a crowd!

This was only one of many enjoyable hikes in this beautiful park that week.

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Lake Hiayaha Emerald Lake Tyndall Gorge and Hallett Peak
Gary spending a beautiful afternoon on a nice soft rock beside Lake Hiayaha in RMNP. The 7.2 mile loop trail runs from Bear Lake to just below Otis Peak and back around. Linda enjoys a rest stop at Emerald Lake just below Hallett Peak. The lake is filled from Tyndell Glacier high up Tyndall Gorge. The view of Hallett Peak and Tyndall Gorge from about halfway up the Flattop Mountain trail. The trail runs from Bear Lake, through a pine and juniper forest to the summit of Flattop Mountain.

Gary and Linda over Tyndall Gorge Summit of Flattop Mountain Summit of Hallett Peak
Gary and Linda at the last overlook over Tyndall Gorge, with Hallett Peak in the background, from the Flattop Mountain trail. Now above the timberline, the trail soon reaches the 12,324' summit. Linda and our new friend, Ron, rest at the summit of Flattop Mountain, before climbing on to the summit of nearby Hallett Peak. Linda and Gary enjoy the summit of Hallett Peak, elevation 12,713'. The view is generally Northward.

Linda and view from Hallett Peak Long's Peak View Linda on Andrew's Glacier
Linda at the edge of the summit of Hallett Peak. Tyndall Gorge is behind and below her. The view is looking Northwest with the summit of Flattop Mountain to the right, just beyond the gorge. The Continental Divide runs through the right-center of the photo. Linda along the Continental Divide trail between Hallett Peak and Andrew's Glacier. Long's Peak, the highest in the Park at 14,255', is above and to the left of her. Linda standing at the bottom of Andrew's Glacier, after a steep and slippery descent. Extreme care must be taken to avoid crevices, so you should stay to the sides of the glacier. Crampons are recommended to avoid slipping.

Andrew's Glacier and Tarn Columbine Indian Paintbrush
Andrew's Glacier viewed from across Andrew's Tarn. A tarn is the lake formed in the groove below a glacier and filled from the melting ice. The Columbine ... Colorado's state flower. This is one of a group growing along the loop trail. A stand of Indian Paintbrush. Mid-summer is best for viewing the myriad of plants and animals in the park. It's the only time to view the tundra flowers in bloom.

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