Grand Lake Headwaters - East Inlet Trail, Grand Lake, Colorado
This day I grabbed my hiking & camera gear, threw it into the back of my adventure-warn and very dirty Jeep Wrangler, and without much direction from me, my Jeep drove me up and into the mountains away from the buzz of the city. Escaping to the mountains is what I do best in Colorado and my Jeep and I have done this drive many times. I've spent 20 years of my life traversing Colorado's beauty and this day I was setting out to visit an old friend, the East Inlet Trail near Grand Lake, Colorado.
Driving the 102 miles to Grand Lake I pass through many little mining towns, climb over the continental divide via Berthoud Pass (Elevation 11,306 ft.), drive by the famous Winter Park Ski Resort, and am greeted by natural beauty at every turn.
The town of Grand Lake is a quaint little one street, saloon type town. The town is full of nice shops and eateries and has a library and museum right in town. The town of Grand Lake skirts the famous Grand Lake...Colorado's largest and deepest natural lake. It's a glacier lake that is approximately 12,000 years young.
Grand Lake is fed by two Rocky Mountain streams called the north and east inlets. On this day I am heading to the east side of Grand Lake to the parking lot of the trailhead for the East Inlet Trail. Before I start my hike I always have to take a look at the grand-ness of Grand Lake. It's a beautiful, clear lake full of trout and surrounded by neat lake homes with boat garages. In the summer you can always spot the famous Chris-Craft wooden style boats out for a stroll.
The trail begins at a steep grade as I meander around tall, scrubby pine trees and unforgiving bolders. The air is fresh and it pleasantly fills my lungs as I breath deeper and deeper. My eyes are open wide as I know that moose are spotted in these parts. I certainly don't want to spook a moose, they don't take kindly to being spooked. In the distance the sound of rushing water are getting louder and louder. It's the raging waters of Adams Falls about a quarter mile up the trail.
As I walk around the different viewing platforms I am revived by the chilled air the falls are creating as they plunge to their deaths into the river below.
After I catch my breath I hop back on the trail. After I walk for a while I realize that I am mostly alone on the trail aside from the one or two passersby. The trail is covered by huge trees now and it's darker and colder in the shade. My neck hairs are standing up as I am reminded that I am in the wild and knowingly surrounded by bears, moose, and mountain lions. I'm both afraid and excited at the same time. The trail has leveled out a bit as I follow the river as it bends and straightens along its path. I'm awarded every so often with a window view of the upcoming valley. I don't stay long as I'm eager to see the "Grand" unveiling.
Like I was shot out of a tunnel at lighting speed I was gifted this spectacular scenery that I captured for you in this photo. An image framed in brilliant blue skies full of puffy white clouds and surrounded by warm, gold grass, and dark, still water like glass. The air is filled with the sweet smell of the surrounding sugar pines, dirt from the base of the stream, and moss covering the half-covered rocks at the river's edge. My eyes quickly scan the valley for any sign of movement from a moose, bear, or even a human. I'm seemingly all alone at this moment. I'm lost in the beauty of my surroundings. As I set up for my photograph I am mesmerized by the clouds rolling by and the gentle sounds of the moving stream. As I carefully calculate my camera settings my mind mind is painting on its canvas what it hopes to capture with this photograph. Pleased with my settings and composition I roll my finger gently over the shutter button just as a group of clouds stroll across my viewfinder. Click. The moment was captured. Sitting upon a rock I tried to hold on to the grand moment for as long as I possibly could. Enjoy!