Timber Lake

On the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park.  Not far from my recent hike from Milner Pass towards Mount Ida, but about two thousand feet lower in elevation and a little further west.  The trail starts at around 9300 feet MSL and climbs to the Lake at 11,040 feet.  There isn't much that is really steep - but it just climbs all the way - for 5.1 miles. 

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On the way to the trailhead, I paused to take a shot of some nice clouds near Lake Irene. 

Sunrise near Lake Irene.

Sunrise near Lake Irene.

Although it is only August, the elk can already be heard trumpeting early in the morning.  Autumn is not far away.

Although it is only August, the elk can already be heard trumpeting early in the morning.  Autumn is not far away.

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Purple Finch,  Carpodacus purpureus.

Purple Finch, Carpodacus purpureus.

Purple Finch,  Carpodacus purpureus.
Timber Lake from the rock fall at its head.

Timber Lake from the rock fall at its head.

This might be the largest mushroom I have ever seen - bigger than my hand!

This might be the largest mushroom I have ever seen - bigger than my hand!

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It was a good day for mushrooms.

It was a good day for mushrooms.

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Unnamed lake just west of Timber Lake.

Unnamed lake just west of Timber Lake.

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Milner Pass towards Mount Ida

A hike along the Continental Divide. 

This route starts at Milner Pass on the Continental Divide.  It climbs from about 10,500 ft. MSL to well above the tree line, towards the summit of Mt. Ida, at 12,280 ft. 

Starting point - Poudre Lake at dawn.

Starting point - Poudre Lake at dawn.

The route.

The route.

Ptarmigan in summer colors.

Ptarmigan in summer colors.

Elk graze at dawn.  "Nice rack!"  "Thanks - you, too."

Elk graze at dawn.

"Nice rack!"

"Thanks - you, too."

Yellow-Bellied Marmot.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot.

Front porch with a view.

Front porch with a view.

Many paths in addition to the human trail.

Chipmunks at play.

Chipmunks at play.

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"Small Apollo" butterfly.

"Small Apollo" butterfly.

Looking from the Continental Divide over a few unnamed lakes towards Forest Canyon, with Trail Ridge and Trail Ridge Road in the distance.

Looking from the Continental Divide over a few unnamed lakes towards Forest Canyon, with Trail Ridge and Trail Ridge Road in the distance.

Rocky Mountain panorama.

Rocky Mountain panorama.

A rock rabbit, or Pica.

A rock rabbit, or Pica.

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Storing up for the winter?

Storing up for the winter?

Mule deer.

Mule deer.

A mushroom bursts forth.

A mushroom bursts forth.

Many mushrooms burst forth.

Many mushrooms burst forth.

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Cradle Mountiain - WOW!

Devonport to Cradle Mountain

After a few arguments with my co-pilot, I finally got on the right track out of Devonport to Cradle Mountain. After using the directions and mapping features on the iPhone, using a dedicated GPS seems like going back to DOS after using Mac OS X. Maybe it is just this unit, provided as part of my car rental, but what a clumsy user interface.

After programming in my destination, I started getting suspicious while, following the directions of the Aussie-accented female voice of my electronic co-pilot, I passed signs directing me to exit to Cradle Mountain, and she kept telling me to go straight on.

So I pulled off to the side of the road, pulled out the map, and determined that she was taking me on a rather circuitous route along the major highways, when I could be taking a more direct, but zig-zaggy route through the beautiful Tasmanian countryside.

Kentish countryside.

Kentish countryside.

So I turned around and started following the signs, and as she insisted that I turn back to the course she had chosen for me, I finally just put her in map-only mode to stop the whining.

After that it was a pleasant jaunt along the backroads, in and out of tiny towns, farmland, and a bit of rainforest.

Poppies in bloom.

Poppies in bloom.

I got to the entrance of the National Park around noon, dropped my bag at the hotel, and proceeded to the Visitor Center, where I asked the recommendation of one of the rangers for a 3- or 4-hour hike. Pointing me at the map, she suggested the climb to Marion's Lookout, with various options from there to loop back or go further up into the range towards Cradle Mountain itself.

Then as I added myself to the line of 20 or so folks waiting for the shuttle bus up into the park, the driver called out that he had a seat for a "party of one", and since everybody else seemed to be part of a group - I got to jump ahead and ride shotgun up front with the driver.

Hikers enjoy Marion's Lookout.

Hikers enjoy Marion's Lookout.

Three hours later, I found myself at Marion'sLookout and, inspired by the view, I decided I had enough water and energy head towards Cradle Mountain, take the Face Track, then drop down to Lake Wilks and then all the way down to Dove Lake and make my way back to the shuttle bus stop there.

The Face Track was interesting - a very narrow track along the base of a massive wall of rock, the highest part of which is cradle mountain. But the track was well marked, with a combination of stakes, stacks of rock, and paint flashes on sections of bare rock. And the views were magnificent.

The Face Track - a bit of a scramble.

The Face Track - a bit of a scramble.

Looking down on Lake Wilks and Dove Lake from the Face Track.

Looking down on Lake Wilks and Dove Lake from the Face Track.

The scramble down off the face to Lake Wilks, and then on to Dove Lake was just as hard on the legs as the climbing getting up there, and by the time I got to down to the elevation of Dove Lake, my legs were starting to complain. And I ran out of water about halfway around Dove Lake, but I made it back to the parking lot just in time to catch the last of the once-every-ten-minutes shuttles before they switched to the once-an-hour evening schedule.

Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain on the horizon.

Dove Lake with Cradle Mountain on the horizon.

All in all, a great walk in beautiful country.