Four Lakes and a Brewery

Trip Start Aug 29, 2013
Trip End Sep 15, 2013

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Where I stayed
Davis Hill Longs Peak Cottage

Flag of United States  , Colorado
Saturday, August 31, 2013

This morning we got up at 7:00 to a cloudless blue sky.  We got ready and had breakfast.  We were on the road by 8:20 headed for Rocky Mountain National Park.  We arrived at Bear Lake Parking Lot before 9:00.  Yesterday the ranger told us the parking lot was closed by 10:00.  There is a free shuttle if you arrive too late to get a spot.  We decided to hike around Bear Lake as a warm up to hiking up to the other three lakes.  The trail around Bear Lake was relatively flat which just a couple of places where we had to go up and down.  The elevation at Bear Lake was 9475 feet.   From Bear Lake we could see people way up above on the trail.  By this time there were a few clouds in the sky.,

We headed up and up the trail for 1/2 mile and came to Nymph Lake.  It was picturesque with lily pads and the reflection of the mountains in it.   We saw an osprey soaring overhead there. We went up and up some more and came to Dream Lake.  Dream Lake was really long and it took us a while to get to the other end.  There were people fishing at this lake.  We saw a Clark's Nutcracker there.  Then we went up an even steeper trail with lots of steps made of logs and stone.  At the top we found Emerald Lake which is surrounded by steep mountains on three sides.  We found a rock high above the lake and sat down to have our lunch.  It was just after 11:00 but we were hungry.  There was an elevation gain of 605 feet so we were now over 10,000 feet up.  Today I didn't have a headache, thank goodness.  We spent quite a while there just soaking up the beauty and the mountains and watching Clark's Nutcrackers, Stellar Jays, and Dark-eyed Juncos vie for the crumbs from everyone's picnics.  

We headed down about 11:30 or maybe a little later.  We didn't stop much to take pictures on the way down because the breezes had kicked up and the clouds were coming in.  We got back to the parking lot about 12:40, changed out of our hiking shoes in a drizzle and headed back to Trail Ridge Road to drive up higher.  But the way ahead looked dark and it started to rain harder so we turned around and headed back to Estes Park.  The lower we got the less rainy it was until the rain stopped.  We decided to go to the Estes Park Brewery which we can see from our deck.  Once inside I went upstairs to get a table as it was pretty busy.  Larry and Erin went to the bar to get free 3 oz. samples.  Erin got Red Rum Ale, Scotch Ale, a stout and a porter.  Larry got Passion Fruit Wheat, Scotch Ale, Raspberry Wheat, and Stinger.  When they came upstairs to the restaurant Erin ordered stout, Larry got the Scotch Ale, and I got a Pina Colada Fruit Smoothie.  We shared an order of mozarella sticks.

Then we went back to the cottage where we saw a deformed deer without one antler and with a growth on that side of his head.  We were all pretty tired from the hiking and had naps.  My knees were hurting a little bit.  After a nap I started to get supper ready.  We made foil packs on the grill. First you get a big piece of aluminum foil, make a hamburger patty, top it with potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, salt, pepper, and butter.  Then you seal it and put it on the grill for 30-40 minutes.  There were extra potatoes so I fried those up.  We also had three hot dog buns left so I rummaged in the cupboard and found some Italian seasoning.  I buttered the buns and sprinkled the seasoning on top and broiled them until they were browned.  It was a feast!

Since I fixed the meal, Larry cleaned up which meant loading the dishwasher.  I sat and wrote the blog while Erin read Entertainment magazine.  It is a lot cooler since the rain.  We  plan to go to bed early tonight and get up even earlier tomorrow so we can be on Trail Ridge Road while the sun shines.
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