Escaping The Nutshell
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You can see the GPS tracks for this entire hike.
This was the first day we had been in Rocky Mountain National Park since before the great flood. Going to Upper Beaver Meadows, simply because it's a nice place to be this time of year, we started hiking at 9:55 on the north side of Beaver Brook, heading northwest on a trail whos name I don't know, and am not sure if it even has a name. We could see Many Parks Curve overhead and decided to head in that direction.
The first part of this hike was quite beautiful, through meadow interspersed with aspen and ponderosa. As we continued northwest the meadow gave way to lodgepole forest that wasn't too thick, being fairly easy to travel through. Around here we departed the trail but soon came upon a well worn elk trail that apparently is a way for the elk to connect the Estes Park area to the alpine country around Trail Ridge Road. This elk trail we followed sporadically when it went the way we felt like going.
At an elevation of 9,544 feet, we stopped at a knob that allowed us to see Beaver Meadows and Moraine Park below, as well as Many Parks Curve to the north. From this knob, we continued northwest, eventually topping out on another knob at elevation 10,802 at 11:55, which to our surprise was composed of Iron Dike rocks with their characteristic rusty red and mottled brown color.
We knew that the Iron Dike crosses the entrance road to Hidden Valley, but didn't know exactly where it went between there and Steep Mountain. This knob provided a good view of the former ski slope of Hidden Valley, Trail Ridge Road, Tombstone Ridge, Sundance Mtn, Mt Chapin, Chiquita, and Ypsilon. Surprisingly, reaching this knob at 10,802, we did not have to wade through more than a couple inches of snow, since it was a mostly south facing slope we ascended on. But looking down the north side we could see it got quite deep.
On the way back, we roughly retraced our steps, stopping near Beaver Brook for lunch, then from the parking area we headed through the meadow, taking pictures of some elk, and finishing the hike at 15:05. The elevation difference from parking to high point was 2,365 feet, and the total distance traveled was 5.9 miles.
|Place Name||Elev [ft]||Accuracy [ft]||Position (lat,lon)|
|Upper Beaver Meadows||8,469||36||40.37305,-105.61404|
|Knob overlooking Beaver Meadows||9,544||26||40.37974,-105.63335|
|Iron Dike point||10,802||33||40.38659,-105.64501|
© 2012-2013 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos
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