July 9, 2014
My friend Tanya and her son August plan on a backpacking trip along the Colorado Trail later this summer. As such, she they have been planning some long hikes. Fortunately, my friend Diana and I got to tag along and go to Rocky Mountain National Park for a ten mile hike to Finch Lake.
Finch Lake is located in a less populated area of the park. The location coupled with the fact we went on weekday made it a perfect day for trail to ourselves most the way. The trail, supported by a rock wall, immediately ascended along the side of the mountain as it wended past lichen covered boulders situated beneath the cover of evergreens.
As we continued, we broke into more open spaces blanketed in wildflowers with views of Long’s Peak, one Colorado’s many 14ers. We walked at quick clip while stepping over countless rocks like we were climbing up a dry waterfall, we crossed the creek, and soon arrived at Finch Lake a few hours after our 10 am start.
The forecast called for afternoon storms which wasn’t a surprise since I think it has rained every afternoon all summer! Clouds accumulated as we snacked on lunch while sitting lakeside with a view of snow-capped mountains. Soon we heard claps of thunder in the distance. It was time to descend, even faster than we ascended, with the exception of stopping to dip our heads in the creek and watch the bunnies hop away.
We timed our descent perfectly, just as we left the tree cover, sprinkles of rain fell upon us. Amazingly, the storm must have circled around us as we had listened to the thunder and seen flashes of lightning toward the end of our descent, and the streets outside the park, just a few miles away, were lined in hail! What a lucky, nice day of hiking we had!! ETB