Sunday, August 11, 2013

Giraffes, wolves, and other mountain madness....

Caroline: "So, when people ask you what you did today, what are you going to say?"
Cheryle: "Well, today I stuffed a giraffe's foot into a crying baby's mouth."

True story. I did. But.... I think it will make more sense when I tell you how that all came about....

I love the Rockies, and I love hiking - especially traverses or loops, where you don't travel the same path twice. And recently, while googling I don't know what, I stumbled across a cool blog written by someone who has done tons of trails and who records the trips in amazing detail. A fairly recent post of his described hiking the Twin Lakes / Arnica Lake loop in a clockwise direction.... Which, if you read about it in any guidebook, is touted as a horrible, scenery-poor, sensory-depriving trudge.... However, the blogger's account was super positive, so since I've been into and out of the lakes a couple of times already, with Hwy 93 as both the starting and ending point, I thought I'd see if I could con a few friends into joining me on this random-blog-recommended, ass-backward variation of the circuit.

The "guinea pigs" - Caroline & Tim - thanks guys!!

Ummm, so far, the scenery is pretty nice!

Cool forest!

Meadows just before Lower Twin Lake.

Lower Twin Lake

Lower Twin Lake - pretty!

Upper Twin Lake
The Twin Lakes from Arnica Summit

Arnica Lake from Arnica Summit

Arnica Lake

As it turns out, it is a most excellent way to do this four-lake extravaganza! Beginning at the Altrude Creek trail is pleasant - the forest foliage is varied, the meadows are mucky but open and lush, and approaching Lower Twin Lake from its outlet is stunning! Upper Twin makes a good lunch spot, and then taking some time to enjoy the stellar views from Arnica Summit is a no-brainer. From Arnica Summit, it is mostly downhill, bottoming out at Vista Lake.... where we saw a small pack of wolves!!

If you look close, you can see a couple of them
on the log in the lower centre of the pic.

Hard to see - these pics were taken from across the lake.

The pack consisted of two grey wolves and three black wolves, including a pup. It has to be the single coolest wildlife encounter for me yet - so completely unexpected! What a joy to see!
Anyway. Back to the crying baby....
So. This morning, at my suggestion, the three of us rode in one vehicle to the trailhead. I figured that there would be so much Sunday afternoon traffic, for sure we could stick out a thumb and somebody would stop and pick up at least one of us, and give us a ride from our exit location to where the 4-Runner was parked. My hunch was correct... and a very nice little family let us hop in with them. I got to sit beside the cutest ever baby boy - who took one look at my sweaty face and IMMEDIATELY proceeded to wail. It was the full-on, top-of-the-baby lungs type of sob/scream, and nothing would calm him down. He was clutching some squeaky rubber giraffe, and from the front seat his Mom directed me to "just put one of the feet in his mouth, he loves it"..... So I did.
And there you have it. Today I stuffed a giraffe's foot into a crying baby's mouth. For the record, he did not seem to love it... Oy.
But my friends did seem to love the hike - we all agreed that the views, and the wildlife, and of course the company, made for a fantastic day! Life is soooo good!
18km later and everyone is still HAPPY!!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ONCE AGAIN A MOST INTERESTING DESCRIPTION OF THE DAY JOURNEY,,THE WATER IN THE LAKES IS SO CLEAR!!,,close enough pictures of the wolves,very interesting ,,a very different hike,,,thanks for sharing,,,cheerio for now,,,dunkster,,,,love ya,,,,