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Lake Haiyaha, RMNP, September 8, 2008

October 19, 2008

Posted October 19, 2008

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Conor, Will, and I actually spent some time together this summer. It’s just taken me a while to get the photos “developed”. I’ve already updated this web site with the photos of the Long Meadows hike Conor and I did together, so here is a hike that all three of us did together.

Before I go any further in the trip’s description, here is my standard comment. Please check my photo galleries here for all the larger and higher quality photos for this trip. The photos in the gallery are a quantum leap in size and quality compared to the little teaser photos I put in this site’s trip narrative.
I have two other links that will help locate the area if you are interested in making the hike yourself. A Google Earth map can be found here. Use the scale bar on the left side of the Google map to help zoom in or out to help locate the area based on where you live. (This link
will direct you to a Google map that shows ALL my trips.)
In order to help you with the actual trail itself, you can use this link to view a topo map of the Lake Haiyaha trail.
All links open a new browser window.

Here is a Microsoft map of the location for this hike. You can click on it to get more info on how to get there (highways, etc.).

Map image

This is a hike in RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park), Lake Haiyaha (located in Chaos Canyon), that Will first discovered from going up with his climbing buddies early this past summer (they had to walk over/through a lot of snow). As it turned out, it’s a great hike out of the Bear Lake parking area and leads to a lovely high mountain lake. With, as you will see, some great views of the surrounding country almost the entire time of the hike.

We took off on a Monday morning, ate breakfast in Estes Park (at the Egg and I), and got on the trail around noon. Note that the earlier you can get to the parking lot, the more chance you will have to find an open parking space. Your other option, during part of the year, is to take a shuttle bus. The trail starts off at a gentle climb through the forest.

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Although my photos won’t show them, we did meet/see a moderate amount of hikers on the first half mile or so to Nymph Lake. Then the number of hikers decreased a lot on the way to Dream Lake. The trail between Dream Lake and Lake Haiyaha was pretty vacant (saw a hand full of hikers including a couple of rangers) and the same at Lake Haiyaha itself. Amazingly low numbers of hikers (I thought) , but maybe the numbers reflect that the official “summer” season had ended.

Will and Conor (who carried the heavy load of climbing pad) kept me moving fairly fast.

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This is overlooking Nymph Lake at Longs Peak (which, as will be seen, was pretty evident throughout the entire hike).

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Another view of Longs Peak further up the trail. I have, umm, many photos of Longs : )

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The day started out sunny and stayed that way. It was warm in the sun, but cool in the shade. Perfect. As I said, the trail was extremely nice and easy.

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Here is a sequence of Longs Peak photos. Each one zooming in a little more than the others.

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Zoom.

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Zoom more.

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Photo of Conor taking a break and just enjoying the view (and giving me a chance to catch up : ). I think this is right below Dream Lake.

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After a while, we could see back down across RMNP to the town of Estes Park way off in the distance.

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I think this is looking up Glacier Gorge with Longs Peak looming over it. Glacier Gorge looks like a nice hike. I’ll try and hike Glacier Gorge this year, but I may have missed my chance. It’s raining outside and supposed to snow fairly heavy in the mountains tonight. O well, it will be there next year.

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Zoom in a little on that. Looks like it has at least one nice lake in the gorge.

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Final zoom.

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Will trying to make friends : ) Note that this was as close as he attempted to get to the chipmunk (and the photo is making him look closer than he really was). The small animals are very friendly, but they can/will bite if feeling threatened and the park rules are not to feed wildlife.

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After a rather nice hike, we arrive at Chaos Canyon. The trail to the lake and climbing boulders are right behind Will. Sorta.

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OK. Not much of a trail. But it made for very interesting “hiking”. The reason Will led us along this “path” is that when he came up with his friends in the early summer, everything was covered with snow except for the middle of the drainage (with the rocks melting away the snow quicker than along the sides of the valley). So, this is the only route he knew.

On the way down from the lake, we found a much easier trail to the right of this photo. I believe there is an “official” trail to the left that we would have seen if we had kept walking on the main trail (from Dream Lake). But. have to admit this was pretty fun way to get to the lake. It did get a little tricky the as you got closer to the lake. The boulders got rather large. So, not a good way to go unless you are ready to do some scrambling on some big rocks. Basically, don’t take smaller/inexperienced children this way.

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Will and Conor quickly moved along, while I took photos. Cool looking area. The weather wasn’t too bad either : )

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Will liked to move along rather quickly (which was safe to do when, as was now the case, you have others around in case you sprain an ankle; or worse).

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Conor was content to take it a little slower (not to mention he was carrying the heaviest pack).

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A view.

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First good view of Lake Haiyaha.

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Looking back down the valley towards………, well, I forget it’s name now : )

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Zoom in a little in portrait mode.

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Full zoom.

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We weren’t totally alone at Lake Haiyaha. You definitely did not feel any crowding problems, but there were a half dozen or so other folks around. Including a couple of climbers that we met, the 2 rangers that we saw on the trail (they were across the lake), and this small group of fisherpeople below us (this is close to full zoom). It was easy for us to see fish swimming around in the lake (12+ inchers), but we never saw any of the fish get caught.

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While hiking up the boulder field to the lake, Conor and Will had gone one way and I went another (looking for an easier route : ) We got out of sight, but could usually hear each other. But, for a while I was wondering if they were going to end up bouldering on the other side of the lake (meaning that I would have to hike around the lake to get to them). But, they eventually showed up.

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It’s difficult to see from these photos, but we are standing on the tops of some rather large boulders. The climbing routes are all below us.

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Here is a photo of Conor climbing down to take a look at one route.

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View of “inside” the rock room. Another couple of climbers were working on the route. This area appears to be a well known (at least in northern Colorado) bouldering site. Enough that “some” climbers leave their climbing pads (crash pads) hidden among the boulders. Per the rangers, this was somewhat of a problem and they always request the climbers to please don’t leave the climbing gear littering the area.

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I took a LOT of photos of the lake which can be seen on my web site, but here is a pano I made up to try and show the area in total (this will also be on my web site as a MUCH bigger version).

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Here is Will on the photo that makes up the far left part of the pano.

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Another view of Will and the strange mountain that seems to be in a lot of the pictures.

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The boys.

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Funning around with the camera.

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Where did all the Cheetos go?

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We finally found the route that Will wanted to work on. Was a rather nice wall. We noticed here that while it was very nice in the sun, out of the sun it was a little on the “cool” side. I could actually see my breath in the shade here.

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Ready.

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Set

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Go.

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Conor making some moves.

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Reaching.

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But, eventually, it was time to head back to the car. Going back down the trail we had a view of an interesting cloud situation. It looked as if the mountains were blocking the clouds from “invading” Estes Park.

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Zoom. Good view of Lumpy Ridge to the left of Estes. It goes quite a bit further to the left of where this photo ends (see the above photo, you can just see the last “lumpy” all the way to the left). Will and I hiked a full loop around Lumpy Ridge one day. Now I see why it took us so long : )

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Heading down. Again, I saw no hobbits.

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Another great day in the mountains. I’ll have to do some more hiking in the future in that area (after the crowds have gone, September is perfect).

– Geoff Weatherford

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