Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park: Day 3 - The Loch/Lake of Glass

We woke up early on Friday morning to try and get ahead of the crowds and get started on a 10 mile, round trip hike out to the Lake of Glass and Sky Pond. We headed to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead only to find out that we didn't get an early enough start on the day because the parking lot was full and we had to continue to drive to Bear Lake. We lucked out at the Bear Lake parking lot and pulled in as someone was just leaving. Starting at Bear Lake added about .3 miles to our hike which wasn't bad at all. This hike was a steady climb the entire was up the mountain and I believe ended up being about 4.6 miles to the Lake of Glass which is located above the Loch Vale.
On the way up to the Loch
 The hike up was a steady climb but was a very enjoyable hike. Once we made it up to the Loch we started to hike through some snow patches on the mountain. Although there was a path through the snow, it still made the hike difficult because it was hard to hold your footing. There were tons of people on this trail and A LOT of the hikers we saw had fly rods with them. I didn't have time to fish the Loch but saw a lot of people casting their lines into the water there. I was able to fish just above the Loch in the Icy Brook which connects the Loch to the Lake of Glass. I didn't expect just how awesome the water would be in between these two lakes. The Icy Brook just above the Loch was loaded with fish and I saw a lot of nice fish in the stream. 

A few nice fish!

The Loch
 I ended up catching a few using a dropper off of my dry fly and missed a few along the way too! I caught a very nice Greenback (pictured below) and decided it was time to finish out our hike and try again at the Lake of Glass.
Greenback caught in the Icy Brook
 When we started back up again, the climb to the Lake of Glass was pretty difficult because of the snow and incline. There were a lot of people slipping on the trail and all of us had to grab some makeshift hiking sticks to aid in our climb through the snow. It was all worthwhile because once we reached Timberline Falls the views were incredible. In order to reach the Lake of Glass you had to climb up the side of the falls and the lake sat just at the top of the waterfall. The climb wasn't too difficult as long as you took your time and had your feet set before you started your next move.

When we reached the Lake of Glass I began seeing fish rising, and after watching the water a little longer I could see countless fish were coming to the surface! I quickly got my rod together and started casting out to the rising fish. I hooked into one Greenback and then missed two more when a storm came over the mountain and hail began to fall. We made the decision to climb back down the falls and try and get further down the mountain as fast as we could. We didn't have rain gear and had no way of telling how long the storm would last. Unfortunately we never made it all the way to Sky Pond and my fishing was cut short. I would absolutely hike back to this spot if I ever get out to RMNP again to further explore the fishing here.

View from Timberline Falls

Hiking through the snow!

Lake of Glass

Casting through the wind

Climbing up the waterfall

The storm that chased us off the top of the mountain ended after about 30 minutes and we decided to just hike out and get back to the campsite at Glacier Basin. This turned out to be the right decision because when we got back to camp more storms rolled in and we were stranded in the car for about two hours before we could cook dinner. We woke up the next morning and headed into Estes Park to walk around town and get a fresh cup of coffee before heading back to Denver, where we went to a few different brew houses and had a nice steak dinner! This was my second trip to RMNP and it only makes me want to get back out there again to continue exploring the park and everything it has to offer. 

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