Fall has arrived and the aspens are starting to turn. We figured no better time to spend a few days in the high country. We dropped a car at the Fern Lake Trailhead and then made our way around to Bear Lake. On the trail up from Bear Lake, the golden aspens contrasted beautifully with the clear blue sky. It took us a while to get through that first stretch of trail because we stopped for so many photos.
Eventually we made it our way to the Mill Creek drainage and were greeted with great mountain views. We hiked along the trail, taking in more views, past the Odessa Lake Trail cutoff, until we made it to Fern Lake.
Once we arrived at camp, we tossed some beers in the lake and relaxed the rest of the evening, taking in the views. That night was clear, so I took the opportunity to take some photos of the stars, just shortly after dark.
That night we made a plan to hike to Odessa Lake for sunrise the following day. We set off in the dark and rolled up just in time for first light on the Little Matterhorn. It was our first time to the area, so we explored around the lake before heading back to camp.
Back at camp we made breakfast, went for a swim, and got ready for a hike up to Loomis Lake, just above Spruce Lake. We headed up to the patrol cabin on the way to check it out.v While I was trying my shoes on the front steps, a short-tailed weasel stuck his head out from around the corner and I was able to grab a shot of him before he ran back into the woods. Quick little bugger!
On the way up to Loomis we found a really cool little waterfall and a small pond. We hung out at the lake for a little while, jumped in and swam, and then headed back to camp to meet up with friends hiking in for the night.
Back in camp we found out our friends resupplied us with more beer and a bottle of Tequila. We all hung out at the lake to take in the sunset. A great day of relaxing in the mountains.
The last morning was another beautiful one. We slept in a bit, so by the time we work up the morning light was gone, but it was still enough for some nice reflection photos.
We packed up and hiked back to the car at Fern Lake. Once we dropped back down in elevation we hit some more aspen groves in fall color. A great bookend to an even better trip!
Trip notes: We hiked around 14 miles with 2700' elevation gain in 3 days. A really nice relaxing trip. Since we did two nights, we were able to hike light and fast on the layover day. I'm not a big fisherman, but our friends that fish were able to catch a bunch. So if you're into fishing this is a great spot. Since the lakes aren't that far in, we also did see a lot of day hikers, which isn't my favorite in the backcountry. But this park is fairly small and most every backcountry spot is also within day hiking distance. Overall, it was a fun trip and I'd visit again!