Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lawn Lake Llama Outing

Distance: 6 miles round trip (12.9 mile round trip to Lawn Lake)
Elevation: 8,540 ft - 9,632 ft (campground)
Elevation Gain: 1,092 ft
Date Hiked: 22 October 2011
Dogs: No, National Park
Bathroom at trailhead: Yes
Tags: #rmnp, #estespark, #llamas, #hiking

Llamas on the Lawn Lake Trail
One day in October we decided to take a few llamas on a stroll in Rocky Mountain National Park.  We called the park information line and asked if the Bridal Veil Falls trailhead had space for stock trailers.  The voice on the phone sounded like something out of the "Mummy's Revenge", ancient and crotchety, but it said yes so we were foolishly pacified.  This turned out to be very wrong and in fact we almost got ourselves stuck trying to turn around at the end of McGraw Ranch Road.  Needless to say we were not happy.  With On Star in the truck we called the park headquarters again.  This time, the mummified assistant answering the phone was more forthcoming... "Eh, what is stock?" Like horses and stuff and we answered.  "Eh, Bridal Veil Falls has no space for horses".  Duh we replied we just found that out.  Where in the park can we take our llamas we asked as we drove back into Estes Park.  "Eh, I have no idea" the voice replied with the unmistakable sound of a sarcophagus lid closing.  We were not about to let this go, however and made our B movie reject look it up.  That is how we ended up at the Lawn Lake Trail.  This turned out to be a much better option.

The stock parking for Lawn Lake is a quarter of a mile up Fall River Road from the Lawn Lake Trailhead.  It is quite large and the stock trail starts just across the road.  While it does head to the trailhead, there is a turnoff for the trail itself that cuts a few hundred yards off the trip.

Looking down on the Alluvial Fan.  Large boulders the size of cars litter the valley, testament to the power of water. 

20 years later and flood is still evident

I have always liked this trail because it winds leisurely along the eroded banks of the Roaring River.  Back in 1982, the Lawn Lake dam failed, causing a torrential flood that ripped out the banks of the the Roaring River, creating the Alluvial Fan (a great place to walk in the park), and flooding Estes Park, killing one camper.  The force of that flood is still evident today.

Mt Chiquita (13,069 ft) peeks above the trees while Ypsilon Mountain (13,514 ft) stays out of site just to the right.

Long's Peak dominates the view looking back down the trail
After hiking with llamas to Thunder Lake, which can only be classified as a death march, the Lawn Lake trail was like Disneyland.  It was flat, without rocks, blanketed with soft pine needles and airy.   A few peaks were visible from the trail, but the big draw was the solitude, pleasant Lodgepole forest, and crisp fall breezes that tickled the senses.

Our turn around point.  Lawn Lake is another 3.5 miles further near the mountain in the distance.
Llamas Krescent and Liberty smile for the tourists..."Can we pet them?" was a common refrain. 
We turned around at the campground, which is 3 miles in.  The hike to Lawn Lake is much longer (13 miles round trip).  I would love to come back and run it.  As it was we were walking at least 3 miles an hour.   We might return this summer to take the llamas all the way.  They are great for carrying your caviar and inflatable butlers to remote picnic locations.  Just don't forget that etiquette demands a cummerbund for such formal occasions.  

1 comment:

Kelly the little black dog said...

So Sylvia,
did you get you own llamas? Did you rent them? Are they loaners? Somehow I can't imagine your HOA allowing them.