|Click this map or any picture to see a larger image|
I did the hike in June, 1996 which is still pretty early to be above 9,000 ft, as there was plenty of snow on the trail. I call hikes like this "wet hikes" as there is much in the way of water along the way: Glacier Creek, Alberta Falls, Mills Lake, Jewel Lake, Glacier Creek, and of course Black Lake.
The first time I did the hike I was blown away by the views about 4 miles in -- The view of Stone Man Pass, McHenrys Peak, and Arrowhead were very dramatic. I snapped a pretty decent photo in about 1996 with my last film camera. The picture came out so well that I used it on my business card for Mountain Data Systems. Later that year, I met my friend Ernie and when I handed him the card, he immediately knew where it was taken. And we've since hiked up into Glacier Gorge together, both in the summer and winter.
|Just below Black Lake in Glacier Gorge, June 1996|
Glacier Gorge continues to be my favorite hiking area in Rocky, and I never tire of its beauty. So when I had the chance this month, I left my house for the trailhead about 6:30am. When I rounded the curve near Moraine Park I was greeted with ground fog with morning light on Longs Peak.
|Longs Peak, above Moraine Park|
|The Glacier Gorge trailhead|
|On the trail past Alberta Falls. Thatchtop Mountain at left|
|Along the trail before Mills Lake|
|Mills Lake, with Longs Peak and the spires called Keyboard of the Winds (taken on the way down)|
|Along Glacier Creek near the Shelf Creek drainage|
|iPhone shot similar to my business card image from 1996|
|Stone Pass upper left, Ribbon Falls, McHenrys Peak and Arrowhead|
I lingered here at Ribbon Falls, taking various shots of the falls with McHenrys in the background.
|Ribbon Falls with McHenrys and Arrowhead|
While I was shooting here, another hiker showed up, so we stopped to chat. He introduced himself as Hiroki, from Japan, and we took each others pictures here.
|Me, just below Black Lake. Thanks, Hiroki! :-)|
|Hiroki in my panorama shot after arriving at Black Lake|
After a short snack break at Black Lake, I started up the drainage climbing up above the lake to a rock we have affectionately named "Mike's Rock" because I've taken so many people up to it.
|Looking back down to Black Lake on the way up the drainage|
|"Mike's Rock" at left, straddling the drainage and overlooking Black Lake|
|Enjoying my lunch|
After a break, and more photography, I wandered around near Blue Lake, but due to time, I didn't visit it this hike.
|Above the drainage to Black Lake; Longs Peak and Keyboard of the Winds|
|The view to the North, back up Glacier Gorge|
|Pano from just below Blue Lake|
|On the way down: some of the last blooms of Fireweed|
|A mini-waterfall in the drainage|
Reluctantly, I left Black Lake and headed down, stopping once to filter some water out of Glacier Creek.
I took a slight detour to take in all of Jewel Lake.
|Jewel Lake, just above Mills Lake|
I took one last break to shoot this small waterfall not far from Alberta Falls.
This hike never fails to amaze and recharge me, but I was tired and happy to get back to my car.
Here's the elevation/speed profile for the hike.
|As you can see, I can easily turn a 6 hr hike into an 9 hr hike :-)|
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