|Rocky Mountain National Park|
I met Sarah when I lived in Kazakhstan in the mid-1990s. She was fresh out of college with a degree in Russian studies and had taken some job down in Almaty. Like every one of our good friends there – local or expat – she was in love with the mountains. Almaty sits in the foothills of the Tien Shan range, which rises above the steppe to heights of 12,000 feet. The range marks the southern border, the boundary with Kirghizstan.
Almarasan, Medeu, Chimbulak, Talgar, Aksu – we did our best to explore.
Now, a couple of decades later, she's in different mountains. Her husband is a park ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park, and for her children, elk are are more common than pigeons.
A research trip brought me to Colorado and I took the opportunity to pay them a visit in Estes Park.
On Tuesday, while the kids were in school we snowshoed up from Bear Lake – to Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and finally to Emerald Lake, which nestles in its little, snowy cirque 10,000 feet above sea level.
|Short cut across Dream Lake|
The next day Sarah and I hiked to Mills Lake up in Glacier Gorge. The snow was marked with tracks of rabbits and hares and squirrels.
No one was at the frozen lake but the two of us, and the valley was silent. You could almost hear the snow gently falling. We drank hot cider from a thermos and were happy.