Mills Lake - Snowshoeing
December 1, 2018 · Rocky Mountain National Park
Snowshoeing to Mills Lake in RMNP was marked by wind and a lot of it. The trek started out at a brisk 21 degrees and the warmest that I saw on my anemometer was 24 degrees. It was overcast for most of the trek with windblown snow. Mills Lake is one of the few easy access trails open during the winter, though I did not see many people on the way in, I did see a lot of people starting their trek towards the end of the day - when the winds were really picking up.
There was an active search in the area for a lost hiker from Longs Peak, as of the time of this writing, his status was still unknown. He was not dressed for the weather. So, that was constantly on my mind during this trek. Hope for the best, but the outcome doesn't look good.
On a lighter note, though I did not see any wildlife on the trail, I did see a lot of Deer at the Beaver Meadows visitor center just before the entrance to the park. The number of them reminded me more of the massive Elk congregation's RMNP is known for.
I had just spent a small fortune on new winter gear and this was the first trek with the new gear; new gloves, new gaiters and new snow pants - all very warm but it took a little time to get used to the gloves. They're Burton Gore-Tex gloves. They're a bit bulky but they are very warm.
I was hoping for better weather. I have been to Mills Lake - a long time ago and the valley is spectacular and wanted to see what it looks like in the winter. It is pretty, but the clouds obscured the views of Storm Pass, Longs Peak, Pagoda Mt. Chiefs Head Peak. However, to see Mills Lake frozen over and watch the wind barrel over the surface was very impressive.
I did not have break trail on this snowshoeing trek and that does make the trek go much faster. This was a quick 6 miles, with about two hours to spare before the sun went down. It was a very pretty snowshoeing trek and the new gear makes it much more enjoyable to be in below-freezing weather.