Gem Lake

I chose Gem Lake for my initial acclimation hike for this trip.  Once there, I would decide whether that was enough for the day or whether I would continue on to Balanced Rock, which I hadn't visited yet.  The new Lumpy Ridge trailhead is very nice.  Much bigger and better than the old one.

Be sure to click on these thumbnail photos for larger versions.

1. This hike is in Lumpy Ridge where there are numerous "lumpy" rock formations.

2. This trail is well used and very easy to follow.

3. More of the trail.

4. Twin Owls, not very recognizable from this angle.

5. This shot was actually taken on the way back down, but it fits here in the sequence of things you see on the way up.  There is a large slabby rock area here with wide open views of the Estes valley and the mountains.  It's a nice spot to come to for the July 4th fireworks display.

6. This is the panoramic view from that spot.
Super Size It!  (362kB)  Photo only.
Super Size It!  (394kB)  With peak identification.

7. The trail.

8. This rock, looking a lot like a boot with a hole in the sole, is known as Paul Bunyan's Boot.

9. Another shot of the boot.

10. I don't know if this rock has a name or not.  If it doesn't, I'm calling it PI Rock.

11. A portion of the trail is a staircase of rock.

12. The trail, very near the lake.

13. This is Gem Lake.  It was a very calm morning and the mirrored surface of the lake reflects the rock wall behind.

14. Another picture of the lake.

15. It was still early, and I was feeling like I wanted to go farther, so I continued on past Gem Lake on the trail leading to Balanced Rock.  That is Mummy Mountain off in the distance.

16. An interesting eroded rock.

17. The trail.

18. Look at that.  It's Balanced Rock.

19. Another view of Balanced Rock.

20. Anyone else see animal shapes in these rocks?

21. Another shot of Gem Lake on the way back.