Before I started this blog I had been posting trip reports to a forum for lovers of Rocky Mountain National Park. This is one of those reports, with only minor edits for clarity.
Hike date: 30 September 2011 — Originally posted: 01 October 2011 – 07:23 PM
Yesterday I hiked to Chiquita Lake. The weather was glorious – clear blue skies, not even a hint of afternoon showers. It was a bit breezy in the morning but mellowed out nicely before I got out of the trees. It was my first hike to Chiquita and my navigation was a bit off. After enjoying the falls just above Ypsilon’s inlet I managed to find a rock outcropping with the only view I got of Ypsilon Lake. I found a couple of log bridges over the stream but I stayed on the left side, or at least I thought I did. Before long I reached a pretty falls on the right side of the valley. In retrospect, I think this must be the stream from Spectacle Lakes, but at the time I thought I was well beyond where that stream should have been. By now I had climbed a fair bit from the valley floor, so I traversed the slope toward the top of the valley.
Only near Ypsilon did I find anything remotely resembling a trail. I didn’t see any cairns the whole way. But it was fairly easy hiking at this time of year. The ground cover had been knocked down (don’t know what kind of plants – I’m not a plant guy, but they’d probably have been waist deep had they not all been bent over).
I hit the trail a few minutes before 8am, was at Ypsilon by 10:30, and at Chiquita by 12:15. That last 8/10’s of a mile was a bit slow, but very enjoyable. It only took me an hour to get back to Ypsilon as I went a more direct route. The outlet of Chiquita was interesting – I couldn’t see the stream at all. It flows under a jumble of rocks for a few hundred yards. I could hear the water the whole time, but it wasn’t a visible stream until back in the trees.
When I got back to Roaring River, I couldn’t help but notice the freakishly tall aspen trees there. These things must be 50′ tall, with no limbs until 30′ above ground. Here’s a vertical panorama (is that an oxymoron?) that doesn’t do them justice: