One of the advantages of the YMCA of the Rockies is its shared border with Rocky Mountain National Park. A large part of the park is accessible by hiking in directly from the YMCA. This is particularly advantageous this weekend as the park is offering free admission for the NPS Centennial.
Today, my father and I decided to hike into the national park and explore the Southern edge of Moraine Park. Moraine Park is a frequent wildlife observation area with a road along the Northern boundary. The lesser known foot path to the South can grant visitors a rich and abundant wildlife experience.
We start by crossing Glacier Creek which acts as the park boundary. After going past Tuxedo Park, we ascend along a rutted horse trail to the top of the ridge. Looking back, we see the YMCA and surrounding mountains.
Walking along the ridge, the brown and green of the pines contrast with the bright blue sky and white clouds. Before long, Moraine Park comes into view.
Now off the ridge and traveling West, we quickly come upon a large herd of elk eating and drinking along the distributed waterways which will become the Big Thompson River.
We spent some time peacefully observing the elk from a distance before continuing. The remainder of the trail continued to share spectacular views of earth, rock, plant, sky, and cloud.
After exiting Moraine Park at the Cub Lake trailhead, we had time to briefly visit Sprague Lake and enjoy the sights and sounds of the water in the fading evening light. Sometimes all you need to do is sit and watch to discover the beauty of creation.