Sunday, July 15, 2007

Guide Report: July 14th & July 15th

Guide Report: July 14th & July 15th
Jill Salva
Stone Man Pass
McHenrys Peak
Kawuneeche Valley
Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP)

Saturday, July 14th
Stone Man Pass, McHenry’s Peak

With a full day to myself, I decided to go up and talk with my stone man. Stone Man Pass hovers up high in a cirque above Black Lake. Departing Glacier Gorge Trailhead at 4:50 am I made good time hiking to Black Lake in 1.5 hours. Once there I almost literally ran into a cow elk! She was one of three babysitters for seven young elk. As a species, these noble giants regularly make use of babysitters so that others can wander for food. Elk parents are very protective and fierce in defense of any possible threat, imagined or real. You don’t want to get too close. Their hoofs are like razors.

These elk were in my direct path causing me to gently encourage them to move along so I could scramble up Arrowhead enroute to McHenry’s Cirque. Once up high, I enjoyed viewing the thin ribbon of snow outlining the Trough on Longs Peak.

My Stone Man was in fine form and I took some time to settle in and enjoy this wonderful place. There were three parties of alpinists over on Spearhead. Their voices bounced off the majestic cirque walls reminding me that although I was soloing, I was not alone. After some fun scrambling I eventually meandered back down toward Black Lake, stopping to watch a feisty marmot along the way.

Sunday, July 15th
Tour de Park

Today was a guide day. Three Korean graduate students hired me as their RMNP guide and naturalist. This is the first time I’ve worked with a language interpreter for an entire day. The experience was successful. I enjoyed sharing my knowledge of the RMNP artist-in-residence program, four major ecosystems, trees, geology, weather patterns, history, and wildlife with these world travelers.

Our tour highlight was viewing Moose near the Kawuneeche Visitor Center! This is the first time I have seen moose in RMNP. Within 30 minutes of our first moose sighting, we were treated to a second moose.

Another enjoyable weekend in the park. Click here for pics.