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Helene Odessa Fern Cub & Bear lakes RMNP, CO
mini location map2013-08-22
9 by photographer avatarMike_Fels
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Helene Odessa Fern Cub & Bear lakes RMNP, CO 
Helene Odessa Fern Cub & Bear lakes RMNP, CO
Hiking avatar Aug 22 2013
Hiking12.65 Miles 3,323 AEG
Hiking12.65 Miles
3,323 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Day 2
Trailhead elevation = 9,475‘ Max experienced elevation = 10,653’
Hit the trail at sunrise following a Mickey D’s breakfast. It’s kind of fun doing a trail when you haven’t a clue what to expect. That was the case here. The first 3 miles was a constant uphill gaining 1,300’ with almost zero downhill portions. Then the next 4 miles was a constant downhill, loosing 2,600’. At that point I figured I was 1,300’ in the hole. At least then I knew I had a 1,300’ gain someplace in the future.

Fantastic trail. It started out in a deep forest. In the first 5.5 miles I saw not another human. I would be walking along and every so often hearing something large just out of sight breaking branches and rolling rocks. That’s when the LRRHS kicks in (Little Red Riding Hood Syndrome “...walking in these spooky old woods alone...”.) Anyway suddenly I see movement, close, there was a huge bull elk that I didn’t see until I was less than 20’ away. Big rack and all. Luckily he was more interested in his eating than me. The trail was only about 10’ from him. He kept an eye on me and I kept an eye on him.

Then suddenly the deep forest stops and the trail goes across a huge boulder field running steeply down the side of the mountain. It looked like the entire side of the mountain slid down in the past. After that there is Odessa Lake and streams and waterfalls and Fern Lake.

I found myself at a side trail that would take me to a shuttle bus and back to my car. Or I could continue, knowing I have at least a 1,300’ uphill still to go... What else could I do but turn my back on the safety of the shuttle and continue on with the unknown.

Sure enough the trail quickly took off. Soon there was Cub Lake and the trail was still going up. Gaining 1250’ in less than 2 miles. I breathed a sigh of relief as I figured I’m almost through the 1,300’. But no it’s not to be down went the trail for almost 500’. Then up for 800’. Then down... This trail just couldn’t make up it’s mind.

All in all it was a great trail. A few miles go through an area that burnt last year. But other than that the bull elk, a family of 10 wild turkeys, the streams and lakes makes it all worth while. The last hour a huge black cloud hung overhead with thunder rolling through the hills.
Named place
Named place
Cub Lake Odessa Lake
Moon Sunrise
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