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'.

Moose

Although I have been living on Colorado's front range since the summer of 2011, I haven't come across any moose.  I believe the last moose I saw was in 1969 in some willow flats in Grand Teton National Park.

I made up for it this morning.

A total of 24 moose were re-introduced to the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park in 1978 and 1979, and this population seems to be growing across the Park and surrounding areas, with the Park Service estimating a population of somewhere around 1,700 as of 2010.

The moose,  Alces alces , is the largest member of the deer family.

The moose, Alces alces, is the largest member of the deer family.