Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vagabonding across the 39th Parallel: A Moment of Pure Magic

My ongoing series Vagabonding Across the 39th Parallel is an exploration of the geology and spectacular scenery of our trip across the middle tier states of Nevada, Utah and Colorado back in July. With fall arriving this week, the trip is becoming an ever more distant memory, but some moments stood out that just left me speechless with awe. They were unforgettable

We set out on the road without a real itinerary, just a vague route and ultimate goal of reaching Rocky Mountain National Park, and some personal guidelines: find new things to see, either places that hardly anyone knows, or famous places we haven't been to before. We saw a lot of famous places, but often these places were made special by odd circumstances, like arriving before the crowds, or showing up after they have dispersed. In today's post, light and dark contrasts produced pure magic.
Bear Lake is a modest-sized glacial lake at about 10,000 feet in the central part of Rocky Mountain National Park. It is one of the most popular walks in a park known for wonderful hiking trails. The parking lot fills early in the morning, and a small army of volunteers spend their entire day directing traffic. The lake is scenic, but on this day it was especially so; the air was absolutely still despite the storms looming on the skyline (we would get drenched a short while later). The effect was stunning, and the crowds seemed to realize it. Everyone spoke in whispers along the trail, and kids weren't even tossing rocks into the water. No one seemed to want to break the fragile peace of the still waters. The pictures that follow are the views we got as we strolled around the lake. Click on any of them for a larger version of the picture...enjoy!

 Longs Peak, 14,259 feet, is the highest peak in the park, and dominates the skyline to the south...

I've never seen more perfect reflections on the water of any lake anywhere in all my travels. It was just magical...

1 comment:

PerA said...

Fantastic photos!