Lake Helene

By Steve Sorensen

Banner Tree Graphics

Today was April 14, and I had decided it would be a good chance to hike to the area around Lake Helene in Rocky Mountain National Park. The glacial valley that contains Lake Helene is one of my favorite places to snowshoe in to. The surrounding peaks, including Notchtop Mountain, can look quite magnificent when covered with snow.

My plan was to snowshoe in and take photos of the frozen lake with the snow-covered peaks highlighted against a brilliant blue sky.

Those were my plans anyway....

What transpired did not quite match my vision, once again reminding me that the Mountains have an agenda all their own.

The morning started off well enough. I got up at 4:00 A.M. and drove up the canyons towards the Park. The moon was out, casting its dim shadows among the rock outcroppings and pine trees along the canyon road.

While I always enjoy driving up in this weird lighting, I have also learned that it tends to lure out the elk. On these moonlit nights they can often be found hanging out near (and on) the narrow canyon roads.

I managed not to smash into any of these elk this morning, since they had decided to stay off the road itself. But their glowing eyes just to the side of the road always manage to keep me alert in a way that coffee alone does not!


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