Fern Lake Trail, Sept. 29, 2011

In the spirit of Emerson’s ‘Walden’s Pond’ and Keillor’s ‘Lake Woebegone’, (Note to self; google that, it  may not be a lake) Fern Lake has always held some mystical connotation for me as a magical  place. And so it was to be on the morning of September 29 2011, my dreams were to come to fruition. A time or two in years past, I had intentions of experiencing the nirvana Fern Lake offered but for one reason or the other….it remained elusive. Not today though. Today was going to be my day to make another check on the ole “Bucket List”.

Are there ferns at Fern Lake??
After finding a suitable parking place for Moonbeam where I can run my little generator while I’m gone without bothering anyone, I head off with my fanny pack filled with a snack of almonds, dried cranberries, cheese and bread. Exactly what any self-respecting bear would want right before winter sets in. From what I can tell by the trailhead information board, it is about a six-mile round trip to the lake and back. (or something like that as I wasn’t paying much attention as it seemed pretty straight forward, up the trail to the lake and back)
I pass lots of people coming and going for the first part of the trail. It’s actually almost too busy for my taste. From what I can remember about the trail, what they call the “Pool” is about a mile and 3/4 in. Then it’s a ways on up to Fern lake. The trail follows a beautiful stream up a winding valley leading to awesome cirques carved out of the sides of mountain peaks by glaciers eons ago.
The first part of the trail up to the “Pool” is an easy walk and very enjoyable. The trail winds through shaded forest covering the trail and edges along a brisk flowing stream. Boulder fields litter the trail as it winds around and through gigantic rocks.
I take my sweet time making sure I take in all Mother Nature has to offer. Anything that catches my eye is worth a moment of discovery. If you like to hike like your attacking at full charge then we wouldn’t make good hiking partners! This place is so beautiful and peaceful it’s a shame not to smell the roses so to speak.  As a hike along, my thoughts wander to those who are unable for whatever reason not to be able to take such a hike and will never be able to experience its beauty.  So what if I had the resources to take a hike like this for example, and record it on video. I could capture everything possible within the parameters of technology as experienced through my senses.  Cool Beans is what I think about that.
Anyway, I make my way to what is called the “Pool”. It’s really more of a bridge than a pool though but I buy into it anyway.

The Pool as seen from the bridge

 This seems like the turn around point for nearly everyone I notice during the time spent soaking in the surroundings. I can’t help but notice this huge tree that is standing at the edge of the stream and beside the bridge. It’s one of my “I Wonder??” moments. The way the coloring has developed over who knows how many years (a hundred? two hundred?) and the fact it hasn’t fell down amazes me.

My "I Wonder?" tree

 Anyway, time to be getting on up to Fern Lake. Off I go but from what I can see, it’s going to be a really really long and steep climb. Whow! Amazing what few molecules of pure oxygen there are this high! I try to go at least a hundred steps before taking a short break to catch my breath and get my racing heart to slow down. Sometimes I don’t make it to a hundred, blaming having another birthday last month as much as the lack of O2.  I am trying to remember the map of this trail when I started. Was it another mile and a half from the pool to the lake or was it that far TO the pool??  Doesn’t really matter I think as I press on upward….slowly. Up up up, does this trail ever go down? Of course it does on the way back I console myself.  Hummm. Come to think of it, why haven’t I passed anyone coming back down this trail is a very long while?? Matter of fact, I haven’t seen anyone for well over an hour. I think I’ll sit and ponder this for a while and have a snack. (Of bear type food)

Ok, maybe I’m more thirsty than hungry.  It would be nice to have brought a map I think to myself. I wonder what time it is? The shadows are getting pretty long it seems.  I press on. From what I can remember of the map, I should be seeing Fern Lake any time. Maybe I should ponder again and re-evaluate my options. I know it’s a really long way back to the Van so maybe I should just turn around and hoof it back out before it gets dark. Ok, the plan is to see whats ahead and after two more turns and if no Lake then hi- tail it back down.  Two turns later finds me pondering again. Low and behold as I live and breathe! It’s another person coming up the trail! Thank goodness I’m not the only human within who knows how far.  We chat and I ask him how much further it is to Fern Lake.  He chuckles and reply’s, “With every step up this trail you are getting further away. It’s way back down there.” My thought is “What the hell???” Now what? He pulls out his MAP and shows me where I’m at and what my options are for getting out of here.   

Note to self; sign posts are to be noticed

Apparently when I left the Pool, I spaced out the sign post much like this one that would have sent me the right way. It’s way too far and too late to make to Fern Lake so I follow the gentleman’s advice and head to Cub Lake instead. This is what I found. From the lake back to where I left the van is now a lot further walk but it was well worth the tired sore feet.


Cub Lake in Rocky Mnt. Nat. Park


 So I am still wondering…. Are there ferns at Fern Lake?

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patty Helsel
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 13:47:10

    Beautiful pictures!


  2. TexCyn
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 17:55:54

    Oh wow, what a lovely mistaken discovery that is! I could hike with you – I take my time too!


  3. Carolyn
    Nov 03, 2011 @ 21:43:27

    oh, wow here too… how brave you are! That is something I have never done… hiked by myself into the unknown! I’ve driven into some pretty unknown situations but… to walk … how brave.

    I even get a little antsy walking trails in a park that are only a mile or so long by myself…

    Beautiful pictures!


  4. rach2bfree
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 07:35:03

    Carolyn, maybe sometime this winter I’ll get around to sharing with everyone some of the more daring (some family members say downright dangerous) hikes. And of course always solo and without anyones knowledge of my whereabouts. I get scolded often and I admit with due cause.


    • Carolyn
      Nov 04, 2011 @ 08:49:49

      I hope you do…. interesting what makes people take risks… I bet your family does do some fancy scolding! I would imagine that not even your cell phone would work in some places you venture!

      I have gotten claustrophobic when walking in unfamiliar wooded areas… I couldn’t believe it! a moment of panic before I settled myself down… same thing with the water… if I get where I can’t see shore? I get a little panicky…

      interesting innit? 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: