Monday, September 5, 2016

A Walk in the Woods with Friends

My friends, Cathy and Bud, have worked as campground hosts in Estes Park for the last eight years.  They know Rocky Mountain National Park like the backs of their hands.  So when Tim had other plans for the day, I was lucky that Cathy and Bud were free to take a hike with me to Mills Lake.

The approximately 2.5-mile trail to the lake was a gradual climb, making it easy to carry on a conversation without too much huffing and puffing. 

With the sun peeking through the trees, it was a perfect morning for a walk through the woods. 

Cathy and I became friends as colleagues at a middle school in Tucson, but it's been several years since I'd seen her.  

Yet, when you've served together in the trenches of teaching middle schoolers, the bonds of friendship are forged to last.   

She and Bud are also living the life of full-time RV-ing.  Once we covered the usual topics of long-separated friends, we turned to talking of--in the lyrics of an old John Denver song--"places that I'm going to and places where I've been."  During their summer vacations from teaching and now as RV travelers, they've covered much of the United States.  I almost wished I'd had pen and paper with me so I could take notes.  

We talked so much we almost missed the sights along the trail.

However, Alberta Falls, a scenic 30-foot waterfall that tumbles down a small gorge of Glacier Creek, would be hard to bypass.

Lots of other hikers had found their way there, too.  Camera shutters were clicking with a rapidity that rivaled the rapids.  But, no worries!  There were plenty of vantage points for everyone to enjoy. 

We also saw that the leaves of the aspens are beginning to change.  In a few weeks, the mountainsides of Rocky Mountain National Park will gleam with gold.  The tree above is only a hint of the glory to come.

Before I thought it possible, there was our first glimpse of Mills Lake.  

Logs like matchsticks blocked the mouth of the lake. 

A gift from a glacier, Mills Lake reflects the sky and the surrounding mountain peaks in its crystal-clear water.  A pretty prize for the people who persevered to this place. 

Photo by Cathy

We shared our lunch with this little guy, a feisty chipmunk who crept up to Cathy's knee.  We thought he was cute, but that was before he stoled her apple core.  Reclaiming his prize for our trash bag, we bade him farewell and hiked back down the trail.  

Photo by Cathy

A wonderful walk In the woods with friends!


Cathy and Bud invited us to a John Denver Tribute Concert Saturday night.  

Brad Fitch aka John Denver

The singer impersonated John Denver so perfectly with almost the same mannerisms and voice, it was--in the words of John Denver again--far out!


  1. Fun to catch up with old friends and your hike looked very scenic! Can't beat a John Denver Concert!

    1. This John is a park ranger who moonlights as Denver. He was amazing!