Dream Lake and Chaos Canyon
Nature can be humbling through its beauty and difficulty and I experienced a little of both in RMNP. With sunrise a little after 5:00 am, we had to leave Boulder around 3:00 am in order to reach Dream Lake. Mornings by the lake are spectacular with the first light reflecting into the water via Hallet Peak. A crowd of photographers gathered in the darkness and waited for the spectacle to unfold.
After packing up the camera gear, we decided to add a snow climb onto the day. Late season conditions allowed for easy steps to be made in the soft snow and we soon reached a ridge that leads to the top of Hallet. Unfortunately, with no climbing gear we were forced to descend into Chaos Canyon in order to summit by another snow route. Route finding through boulder fields and a second snow climb proved too much for a day with a heavy pack. Had we completed the second snow climb, we would have still been 1,000 ft from the summit so we decided to exit through Chaos Canyon towards Lake Haiyaha. Eventually a trail was found again and we passed Dream Lake again in the daytime. Overall, it was a beautiful morning with a fun day scrambling around in a hidden area of RMNP. Throughout the day, I also admired how the park provided enjoyment from a diverse group of people, from photographers, climbers, backpackers, and day hikers. The hike also provided me a chance to capture some motion in addition to stills. Video is an area I hope to expand into on upcoming trips.