these are (above and below) pictures taken on our way up to our hike. we took a scenic route so we could some more of the park. one the drive we ran into a handful of elk! they were right there, just crossing the street. i freaked out, telling nikki to take pictures, while nikki was the calm one telling me to stop screaming so i don't scare them off or have them attack my car! ...neither happened, the rest eventually just followed on to the other side down the hill.
we had decided to take an "easy" hike, but since i had never been to the park before i didn't know my way around. nikki and i had decided on "easy" because the night before we had gone to STRIKE! and thought we would play it safe. we stopped at the first visitor's center at the park, and a woman recommended we do the lumpy ridge trail head to gem lake. this hike was 3.2 miles (round trip) starting elevation at 7,840 feet, and after the fact we find out that this hike is considered "moderate", with a 1000 foot elevation gain.
the hike was amazing. it's amazing that this whole big wide world is what God has created for us to enjoy. and that very rarely do people truly enjoy it, including myself. to be out in the open, fresh, air was beautiful. hiking with nikki, talking about anything and everything was something i will forever cherish.
so once we got to the "top" it was super snow packed and went up at a pretty steep incline. we think that gem lake is just up the steep incline of snow, but we decided to opt out of that. so unfortunately we didn't get to see what would have been a frozen over lake, but we definitely tried!
the view from one of the top look out pointsunfortunately right after i took this last photo my camera died. once i get nikki's photos i'll do another post to show the rest of the pics. after the hike down we drove to bear lake. and the photo's of this are amazing! bear lake is at 9,475feet, so the 500 foot walk to the frozen lake was heavily snow packed with about 3 feet of snow! nikki's shoes were basically rubber on the bottom, and she had a couple of close calls of falling!, and honestly so did it. but we made it out with both feet standing the whole time!