Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes
Trailhead: Bear Lake
Distance: 3.6 miles (easy)
I had Friday off because of our camping trip to RMNP. I got a head start into the park and did a solo hike to Emerald Lake.
I am always so impressed with the people in RMNP. Granted, we do have our fair share of stupid tourists who get too close to the elk or play on the snowfields, but with 3 million visitors a year, they seem few and far between. On this hike, I saw only the good ones. From the park ranger who made sure I was prepared for the conditions, to the little boy who smiled and assured me I was halfway there, to the dad who said: "wow, you look like an experienced backpacker," I was met with smiles and kindness everywhere.
This solo hike felt different from the last one. I don't know if it was because I didn't feel guilty since Logan and I have done this one together (several times), or if it was just general confidence, but this was incredible.
I missed most of the crowds because I arrived around noon, but it was still an incredibly popular trail. From Dream Lake on (9,905' in elevation), it was totally snow covered. People were wearing Sperry's had I had to try not to judge them. I wore my Yaktrax from the lookout above Nymph lake on, and got the trekking poles out for my way back down.
I'm not going to lie, I felt like a badass speeding past everyone, both up and down, because I was actually prepared for the conditions. Yaktrax are one of the world's best inventions.
I love this hike and I've seen it in every season now. Winter and spring are, without a doubt, my favorite.