Since last weekend's hike was a little bit of a bummer, we planned to go into Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend since hikes in Rocky never disappoint. But the only problem is that we've done just about all of them, well at least the ones that we can physically get to in the winter. I've wanted to hike to Lake Haiyaha again since the June 2022 rockslide that changed the color of the lake. Of course, since it's winter, I wasn't expecting to see much of the color since it's all frozen over, but the colors were still spectacular and well worth the grueling 6-mile hike. We didn't get very much of the green color that the lake had in the summer, but it was a gorgeous crisp blue that was more brilliant than ice we've seen at other alpine lakes.
We decided to make the hike longer than the 4-mile out and back as we did in early 2022. Instead, we made it a loop starting from the Bear Lake parking lot to Glacier Gorge, turning before branching off to the Loch to get up to Lake Haiyaha, then back down to Dream Lake, followed by Numph Lake, and finally ending our loop back at the Bear Lake parking lot. The hike started out on easy terrain with well-packed down snow since the Glacier Gorge trail is quite popular. But it was apparent that this particular loop isn't popular since the trail was nonexistent between The fork to the Loch and Lake Haiyaha. For that mile of the trail, we were completely on our own breaking trail. Equipped with COTrex on Katie's phone, we made it without wandering too far from the trail (but the map is quite funny to look at because of us squiggling back and forth around the trail in a few spots). Breaking trail isn't something I ever expected to do in Rocky Mountain National Park since it's such a popular place. But it was great to be on our own and away from all the people during that mile, even if it was extremely strenuous. By the time we were hiking back from Dream Lake, there were people everywhere you looked since that's the number one most popular trail in Rocky. That amount of people ruin the hiking experience, but we didn't care since we were physically and mentally done with the hike by that point and just trying to make it back to the car.