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After the fresh rain, the forest on the Fern Lake trail never looked so good. Wet, green, lush fern plants carpet the floor beneath a lovely aspen grove. The smell was so fresh!
Taken: Jul 13, 2009
A pretty un-named falls greets Loomis Lake hikers a short distance up from Spruce Lake. The photo opportunity is a good chance to take a rest from the steep climb!
A sole limber pine tree holds on along the outlet shore of Loomis Lake (east edge). Many of the trees surrounding Loomis are limbers, suggesting the harsh environment normally encountered here.
Beyond Spruce Lake, the way becomes more difficult. It's much steeper and the trail (if you can call it that) is extremely rough. Here, Richard (right) and Glenn (left) progress slowly through the trees on their way to Loomis Lake.
Castle Rock from Spruce Lake. It's hard to imagine you can climb that thing while you're standing here at the lake. Definitely not for the "heights-challenged"!!!
Don't be fooled! That's not Loomis Lake yet. Loomis is all the way at the base of Gabletop Mountain (backdrop). This is a small un-named pond halfway from Spruce to Loomis. Beautiful, though!
Gabletop Mountain reflects in the alpine tarn one-quarter mile below Loomis Lake. Hikemaster Scott got the group back to this pond in no time....much easier than it was on the trip up from here to Loomis.
Hikemaster Scott's 3rd trip to Spruce Lake. It's a pretty one!
Hikemaster Scott at Fern Falls (again!). He's been here several times already this summer, but how can you tire of this spot. The cool spray was awesome! Next stop: Spruce Lake.
Hikemaster Scott basks in the warm sunshine at Loomis Lake (10,220 ft). It's a rocky scene here, despite the elevation being below treeline.
Hikemaster Scott enjoys a photograph alongside Loomis Lake. The weather here was gorgeous, although later in the day his group would be caught in a hail and lightning storm (see later)--hard to believe, eh?!!!
Hikemaster Scott loved Loomis Lake. He had visited here briefly once before (June 15, 2008) on a Castle Rock scouting expedition. But this was his first chance to spend any real time here at Loomis. It was time well spent!
Hikemaster Scott takes a photo of his hikers from the base of Fern Falls. The hikers enjoy the cool spring on a rock overlooking Fern Creek and Fern Falls. It was cool and refreshing!
Hikemaster Scott takes a photo right next to Fern Falls, about 3 miles from the trailhead. Plenty of water to be found on this hike, that's for sure!
It's rare to make it 3 miles in to Fern Falls so early in the morning (about 7:30 AM). This gave the YMCA Loomis Lake hikers the chance to enjoy some solitude here, and early sun lighting the waters of this impressive falls.
Lone limber pine tree grows on the eastern shore of Loomis Lake. Loomis is mainly surrounded by rocky terrain, although some krummholz and the occasional tree are growing here along the shore as well.
Looking back towards Castle Rock....still doesn't look summitt-able!!!
Loomis Lake is rather large, as you can see here. There is some greenery holding on, but it is quickly obvious once you're here that this is a harsh environment for life to thrive.
Near Spruce Lake, this view of Gabletop Mountain appears through the forest of subalpine fir and Engelmann spruce trees.
Snow clinging to the sheer wall of Gabletop Mountain reflects in beautiful Loomis Lake. Loomis has a deep green appearance, as do many of the lakes in RMNP.
Spruce Lake is about 4.5 miles from the Fern Lake trailhead. Here, Richard (left), Glenn (center), and Jamie (right) enjoy the scene. Gabletop Mountain rises above the lake. Loomis sits at the base of Gabletop above the trees to the right.
Spruce Lake is one of the most popular lakes for fishing. No fishermen were spotted here early on during the trip up, but later in the day on the return, several were out in the waters fishing.
The last part of the Fern Lake trail can be terribly hot....but on this day, the YMCA group lucked out with overcast skies following a brief downpour and hail storm. Evidence of the wet conditions lingers on the trail in this photo.
The main backdrop at Loomis Lake is Gabletop Mountain. It was hard to capture both the mountain and the lake in one image, since the lake is directly below the sheer wall of Gabletop.
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