Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park: Day 2 - Fern Lake Trail/Big Thompson River

We woke up early at Finch Lake and packed up our gear to get an early start on the day. We hiked the 5 miles back to the trailhead in a little over 2 hours. It was much easier on the way out because the entire hike was downhill. Once back at the car we headed to Glacier Basin Campground to set up camp and get back out into the park. Once camp was set up we headed over to the Fern Lake Trailhead to hike up to the "Big Pool" on the Big Thompson River. This hike was only about 1.8 miles from the trailhead but I had plans to fish the entire was up while my buddies enjoyed the hike and hung out while I fished. I ended up catching a few fish here and there but I though that the river was very high for this time of year. RMNP had a higher than average snow pack this year and most of the mountains still had piles of snow on them.
The Big Pool
 As we were hiking up the trail I decided to go off the trail a bit and check out the stream. I walked down into a small open area and headed to the stream, with my friends a little behind me changing into sandals. When they met up with me about 5 minutes after I started fishing they told me I walked right by a Moose without ever seeing it! I wanted to take a look at her because I had never seen one before. As we headed back we realized that there was a mother and her calf grazing the open area about 25 yards away from us. We wanted to give them their space so we headed back to the trail, as they stared us down the entire time we got a little nervous. There was no other option than to get back to the trail and try and put as much space between us as possible. We were within 20-25 yards of them the entire time but made it back to the trail. As my friends changed back into their boots I noticed that the mother was following us and continued to get closer and closer. She got to about 15 yards away when she started to charge at us! Luckily she turned away under 10 yards from us and headed back to her calf. It was a nerve racking experience but quite the story to have!
Beautiful colors 
After our close call with the moose I had enough time to fish the Meadows section of the Big Thompson River. I worked my way through about a half mile of the stream picking up numerous fish along the way on attractor patterns. There were a ton of fisherman out because it was a beautiful day so I was happy with how well I was doing on top!

That water was high and freezing!
A few storms rolled in as we got into the evening hours so we decided to head back to camp and enjoy a few beers over dinner. We wanted to have a relaxing night because we had planned to do a 10 mile hike our last day in the park.

A heard of Elk bedded down behind Hoff

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