Yesterday’s hike in glorious weather was an easy six miles that I completed in five hours. That’s a little faster than my usual pace for a couple of reasons. The Beaver Meadows Circuit trail had only a moderate elevation gain of 1160 feet, from 8440 to 9600 feet, and I walked and jogged in spurts (as interval training) faster and longer than I have before.
Still, I took my time to enjoy the beauty all around me. I was in an area of Rocky Mountain National Park that until a couple of days ago I didn’t know existed. I discovered it when I looked for trail waypoints and tracks on a website that Karen had told me about. When I found this loop trail, I loaded the waypoints and track into my GPS receiver.
These pre-made waypoints and track coordinated perfectly with one of my trail guides, Hiking Circuits in Rocky Mountain National Park. Good thing, because the area was full of a confusing matrix of trails, and the paper map that I also carried was no help at all.
I hadn’t previously noticed this particular circuit in the book, even though this book is one of my favorites. I took it on the hike yesterday and on the hike a couple of months ago when I got lost in a tremendous hail storm. The book is essentially ruined from its exposure to water, but is still valuable to me.
That experience was what prompted me to get a GPS receiver, which led to Karen and I expanding our email contacts beyond discussing diabetes, which eventually led to much, much more. Talk about making lemonade out of a lemon!
The peaks clearly had lots of fresh snow. That didn’t surprise me, because the local paper wrote recently that the nearby ski resorts are opening for the season in a few days.
But at the relatively low elevation where I was hiking the weather was comfortable. I even stopped for lunch two times. First, at an overlook above Morraine Park, where I ate an apple that I got the day before from my Community Supported Agriculture share. Second, at the bubbling Beaver Brook, where I ate another apple.
I love the sounds of a brook as much as any natural sounds. The sounds of nature are something that the park people cherish too. Of all the park interpretive signs I have seen, this one at the trailhead resonated most deeply with me. Ironically, a group of hikers were talking next to me, practically the only people I heard all day.
Both sound and sight can be beautiful. These aspen by the brook, quaking and turning, were especially beautiful:
They were so beautiful to me that they brought to mind the closing lines from one of my favorite poems by John Keats:
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Here is another scene of beauty – truth – that I saw along this wonderful trail:
In this season at the park and around meadows such as I hiked through elk were all around. I especially liked this herd.