There is an unpaved four to five mile trail all the way around Big Meadows Reservoir. It has a few short climbs, a few streams to bridge or rock-step across, and four distinct microclimates: intermittent bog, Pacific rain forest, rockslide terrain, and sub-Alpine meadow. It’s mostly cool and entirely scenic. We have now hiked it twice.
Yes, bad knee and all, I made it with the help of a walking stick and two Aleves.
The hike is a two hour trip if you dawdle at all, and bringing water is a better than good idea. Go early or late and you will see wildlife. We spotted a pair of common mergansers, a lone eagle, a mama duck with her young ‘uns, napping fishermen, reading fishermen, an LSU fisherman, and a few diligent, successful fishers.
We met a group of Asian tourists carrying no water – they spoke California English and told me that water was everywhere – why bother to carry it? “Giardia” is one of the best reasons, but no one on vacation wants a lecture on intestinal parasites; maybe they’ll be lucky, and if not, giardiasis is far less dangerous than dehydration.
We met a native American fisherman who was closing in on his limit: four trout. His wife kept up with their two dogs, one of whom was trained to respond to her version of a crow’s call – “caw, caw!”. She called him in crow (or was it Crow?), and the big dog came running.
Wildflowers are everywhere and you see some in the rain forest that you won’t find anywhere else. Kat caught a few on camera, but what we couldn’t catch for you is the sound of water hurrying down into the lake, and that wonderful smell of a damp conifer forest at 9,300 feet.
But for the winters, we could very happily live in Colorado. As they say in Dallas, Houston, and Lubbock: “It’s the Texas Riviera”.