Escaping The Nutshell
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This was a nice winter hike with minimal snow and much warmth for early February. Starting at the winter parking area for the Fern Lake Trailhead, we headed north up the dry trail-less south facing slope that was the northern edge of the Moraine Park Glacier at the end of the last ice age 11,000 years ago.
Reaching the top of the moraine, we headed west following its ridge. Surprising a few deer, we kept going to about the 9000 foot level, near where the Beaver Mtn and Ute Trails meet. At this point the snow depth started getting significant. We considered going to Beaver Meadows via one of the trails, but the depth of snow dissuaded us. There were only some very old tracks on the trail, that we couldn't even identify as human or elk or moose.
Returning back along the moraine top, we continued beyond the point we first came upon it, and followed it to where it spreads out and diffuses. We met a cottontail rabbit who was very tolerant of our presence.
Crossing over a trail that connects Moraine Park to Beaver Meadows, we met it once more before taking one of its branches to the northern edge of the Moraine Park Campground, then by the horse stables, before returning to our parking place. At the picnic tables above the parking place, we met five magpies.
The total trip time was 4 hrs, 20 minutes. Total distance was about 4 miles (mostly trail-less). Elevation difference from lowest (8200 ft) to highest (9000 ft) was 800 feet.
Below 8200 feet at start is noise.
© 2012-2015 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos
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