Chasm Lake and Storm Pass
Every season offers a new perspective in the mountains. Spring is highlighted by the return of wildflowers and access to alpine trails, summer provides camping opportunities by aquamarine lakes that perfectly reflect granite peaks, and fall gives one last burst of color. But winter brings snow. From making snowballs and snow angels to skiing, I find that winter can be the most playful season. There is nothing like waking up early for a trail run through snow with friends! We began from the Longs Peak Trailhead a little after 6 am in darkness. October already reminds one that it is past the equinox and the sun struggles to get out of bed. Soon though the first light highlighted what we had woken up before 4 am for, a winter wonderland! Every tree was draped with a fresh covering of snow, but our main focal point of Longs was still obscured by clouds. This changed just after we reached a junction before the trail to Chasm Lake and The Diamond came into view. The features of the mountain were perfectly enhanced with the snow filling every crevice.
After we enjoyed the lake and mountain views we continued on our run, but still had more spectacular views to enjoy. Running above 11,000 ft was the perfect elevation to have clouds both above and below us. Clouds rolled over themselves in the valleys below, with just the top of Twin Sisters poking through to the east and Mills and Black Lake buried below fog to the west.
As we descended from the alpine back into forested areas, we switched seasons back into fall with a little segment through aspens, whose golden leaves were above our heads and below our feet. This loop, which is about 18 miles in length, is one of my favorite runs of the year and I hope to repeat it again!