Last week, the McAllister trio of Niall, Branduff and I went up to Estes Park for a couple of days. We decided to have a saunter in Rocky Mountain National Park, and we picked a walk to Bierstadt Lake.
While it had been my policy that hubby Niall tested every walk for ease and accessibility ahead of time, that hasn't been possible since he's been spending so much time working overseas. Therefore, Branduff and I have been the family pioneers, pushing our way around lakes and trails in the RMNP.
Unfortunately, we should have had Niall test the Bierstadt Lake walk first . . .
The elevation at the trailhead/parking lot, where we left our vehicle, was 8840 feet. Okay, so I assumed the trail would be fairly level and gently lead out to the lake, the way that Lily and Sprague Lakes are situated. Oh no . . . it turned out that we had to climb more than 600 steep feet over nearly 1 1/2 miles to get to the lake at the top of the cliff!
Fortunately, I had brought my bottle of water, even if Branduff left his water in the car, and Niall only drinks beer!! He was hoping that "Bier" stadt lake would mean that some hoppy brew would be waiting for him on top of the mountain.
Once we finally made it to the top, I was already spent out. There had been some amazing views all the way up, and I won't soon forget the beauty or the aerobic climb!!
We had to decide whether it would be easier to descend the same steep trail or continue to head up a gentler slope to Bear Lake. We opted for the Bear Lake route, which would mean another 400 feet of elevation and additional 2 miles. Yes, we actually hiked up 1000 feet that day. I've never done that before; not sure I'd do it again.The scenery along the way continued to impress us, and we were rewarded with some gorgeous golden aspens as the trail to began to descend as we neared Bear Lake. We were able to hop on a shuttle bus from Bear Lake back to the trailhead of Bierstadt to collect our vehicle. Three very hungry climbing hikers immediately headed to the local barbecue joint for refueling. What a memorable day!!