Chasm Lake - RMNP, September 11, 1995
(During a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park following a 3-day backpacking trip and attempt of Hallet Peak)
Well, then came Tuesday, our last day. We decided to hike to Chasm Lake at the base of Long's Peak. This was 4.2 miles and we climbed from 9,400 to 11,760 feet. The hike was rated strenuous in the trail guide. (As was both of the other hikes I had been on.) After a good night's sleep, we hit the trail at 10:00, later than I like to get started but it was nice to sleep late that morning. The weather was perfect, absolutely beautiful, deep blue skies and a comfortable 60 something degrees.
At first, I admit I didn't really feel like hiking. I was tired and I think Owen was too. We didn't say much for a while as we hiked through the trees. Then, as we cleared tree line, our spirits improved. It was so pretty up there that it made you feel better. The trail was steep enough to keep you huffing a little but not too bad. We went slow and took frequent breaks and drank plenty of water. As we neared the lake, we passed the solar privy and some rangers were there "servicing" it. They had brought their equipment up on llamas. They were tied off at a hitching post and we got a close look at them. The rangers said they used them alot and each one could haul as much as 80 pounds.
In the meadow just below the shelf on which the lake sat, there was another privy. This one only covered you to just over waist high if you were standing. I used it and it was kind of a strange feeling standing there up on the platform with other people around. There was a sign inside that read "Close lid after use to keep marmots and other animals from falling in". (Yuck!)
Well, after four and a half hours we finally made it to Chasm Lake. We were greeted by a couple of yellow-bellied marmots grazing around the area. They didn't seem to mind us at all and Owen got a few pictures and I shot some video.
The lake was pretty, deep green colored and crystal clear water. Longs Peak was across the lake and was spectacular to look at. The dramatic east face and the sheer rock wall know as "The Diamond" loomed over 2500 feet above us. It was hard to comprehend the size without some scale. We missed the best light for photography but still it was an impressive sight. By now I felt good about the day even though I was tired from the hike up. The weather continued to be perfect.
After having lunch we started making our way back. The hike back was much less demanding and we made it back in only 2 hours. We hurried a little because we were going to Moraine Park to see the elk which show up about 6:00 every evening, Owen wanted to photograph them. We got there in time but the elk didn't show.
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