Fern Lake and Odessa Lake

About 3.8 miles from the Fern Lake trailhead at the west end of Moraine Park, climbing from about 8000 feet to 9,500 feet to reach Fern Lake.  From there it is another mile or so, and another 500 feet of elevation gain, to reach Odessa Lake at just above 10,000 feet.

Fern Lake.  Odessa Lake lies just beneath Notchtop Mountain and the Little Matterhorn, both in the distance at right.

Fern Lake.  Odessa Lake lies just beneath Notchtop Mountain and the Little Matterhorn, both in the distance at right.

Morning sunlight on the canyon walls above the Fern Lake trail.

Morning sunlight on the canyon walls above the Fern Lake trail.

A tributary creek of the Big Thompson River.

A tributary creek of the Big Thompson River.

Fern Falls, elevation 8800 feet.

Fern Falls, elevation 8800 feet.

Great to see this bull moose on the east side of the park!

Great to see this bull moose on the east side of the park!

Notchtop Mountain and the Little Matterhorn reflected in Fern Lake.

Notchtop Mountain and the Little Matterhorn reflected in Fern Lake.

The approach to Odessa Lake along Fern Creek is spectacular - Notchtop Mountain [summit at about 12,160 feet] at center.

The approach to Odessa Lake along Fern Creek is spectacular - Notchtop Mountain [summit at about 12,160 feet] at center.

Odessa Lake, with Notchtop Mountain at center and the Little Matterhorn at right.

Odessa Lake, with Notchtop Mountain at center and the Little Matterhorn at right.

Some excellent trail engineering just below Odessa Lake.

Some excellent trail engineering just below Odessa Lake.

In the Autumn of 2012, the Fern Lake fire raced up both sides of the canyon carrying the upper reaches of the Big Thompson River, burning about 3,500 acres.  It was started by an illegal campfire on October 9th, and was not officially declared extinguished until the 24th of June 2013, eight and a half months later, when enough snow had melted off the mountain tops to allow confirmation that there were no smoldering remnants still active.  Almost two years later, large swaths of former pine forest remain barren.

In the Autumn of 2012, the Fern Lake fire raced up both sides of the canyon carrying the upper reaches of the Big Thompson River, burning about 3,500 acres.  It was started by an illegal campfire on October 9th, and was not officially declared extinguished until the 24th of June 2013, eight and a half months later, when enough snow had melted off the mountain tops to allow confirmation that there were no smoldering remnants still active.  Almost two years later, large swaths of former pine forest remain barren.

It ain't called "The Rockies" for nuthin'.

It ain't called "The Rockies" for nuthin'.

High country summer - Part I

Some of my favorite photos from the first few weeks of summer in the Rocky Mountains. 

Mammals

The fox family [Red Fox,  Vulpes vulpes ] was back, with five kits.

The fox family [Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes] was back, with five kits.

"Silver fox" - an uncommon color variation of the Red Fox.

"Silver fox" - an uncommon color variation of the Red Fox.

Young deer on the Black Canyon Trail. 

Young deer on the Black Canyon Trail. 

Tassel-Eared Squirrel  [ Abert's Squirrel , C iurus aberti ].  The  C. aberti ferreus  subspecies that lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is all black - all of the other subspecies have a white belly.

Tassel-Eared Squirrel [Abert's Squirrel, Ciurus aberti].  The C. aberti ferreus subspecies that lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is all black - all of the other subspecies have a white belly.

American red squirrel  [ Tamiasciurus hudsonicus] .

American red squirrel [Tamiasciurus hudsonicus].

Chipmunk. 

Chipmunk. 

Elk  [ Cervus canadensis ] move through the neighborhood early in the summer before they head up to the higher elevations.

Elk [Cervus canadensis] move through the neighborhood early in the summer before they head up to the higher elevations.

Birds

  Pygmy Nuthatch

 Pygmy Nuthatch

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Wild Turkey  [ Meleagris gallopavo ].  This image was shot before dawn, and therefore the colors are very muted.

Wild Turkey [Meleagris gallopavo].  This image was shot before dawn, and therefore the colors are very muted.

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Plants and Flowers

Pasque flowers kicked it off as early Spring bloomers. 

Pasque flowers kicked it off as early Spring bloomers. 

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Sticky cinquefoil,  Potentilla glandulosa .

Sticky cinquefoil, Potentilla glandulosa.

Sticky cinquefoil,  Potentilla glandulosa .

Sticky cinquefoil, Potentilla glandulosa.

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Landscapes

Sticky Geranium,  Geranium viscosissimum

Sticky Geranium, Geranium viscosissimum

Trees grow in a crack in Button Rock.

Trees grow in a crack in Button Rock.

Looking west towards Mt. Meeker and Long's Peak from Button Rock.

Looking west towards Mt. Meeker and Long's Peak from Button Rock.

Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fern Lake.

Fern Lake.

Aspens at sunrise.

Aspens at sunrise.

The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park.

The Loch, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Loch Vale, with Timberline Falls in the distance, right of center.

Loch Vale, with Timberline Falls in the distance, right of center.

Panorama with Lake of Glass at left, and The Loch down below at right.

Panorama with Lake of Glass at left, and The Loch down below at right.

Clouds over the Continental Divide from near the top of Twin Sisters.

Clouds over the Continental Divide from near the top of Twin Sisters.

A view of "The Keyhole" - on the route to the summit of Long's Peak -  from Estes Cone.

A view of "The Keyhole" - on the route to the summit of Long's Peak -  from Estes Cone.