Erik and I went out in an attempt to meet some folks from RMNPforums near Lake Haiyaha. Ed has an igloo up there and we were interested in checking it out. I was to pick Erik up at 5:00 and we were going to head up to Bear Lake and hope to make it to Haiyaha for sunrise. Our plans changed the minute we got onto Bear Lake Road and we were able to see just how much snow the park got over night.

There was over a foot of snow on the road and in places it had drifted over two feet deep. There were some drifts that were coming up over the front of the xterra. At times visibility was literally zero because of all the blowing snow. But we made it to Bear Lake and were the only ones there. Once we had our snowshoes strapped on and began the walk across the parking lot, we knew sunrise was out. Not only were the clouds too thick, but it was going to take forever to get anywhere. We were breaking trail through 2 feet of snow, sinking at least to our knees with snowshoes on!

We plugged away, swapping the breaking duties and enjoyed the spectacular morning in, what a friend calls, Planet Romonapa. The snow was beautiful and the wind was fine, especially in the trees. But it was a lot of work. The snow was spectacularly unstable and we crossed several avalanche paths. One of considerable size was right on the Dream Lake Trail just above Nymph Lake. We skirted the danger and then stopped to take our first pics of the day.

The rest of the hike up was truly amazing! Deep snow, deeper drifts, taxing terrain, wind, avy slopes, beautiful scenery and great company. We finally made it up to Haiyaha, breaking trail the entire way, but were unable to find Ed's Igloo. We hung out for a bit waiting on the crew but figured it could be quite a while until they made it, if at all. So we packed up and headed down the hill.

The way back was much easier and we made quick work of the descent. This was one of the most memorable snowshoes that I have ever experienced. I know I didn't convey the brutal conditions in any of the pictures, but it was fierce! I've learned that I take solace in these type of landscapes and truly enjoy the power nature holds. I can;t wait to get back out there!


My Photos: HERE

until next time...
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