If you ever decide to wake up at 4am to catch the sunrise at Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, this is what I suggest you bring:A warm coat
All these things of course, minus the warm coat, scarf, gloves, and hat I did not have and wish I had; even though the view of the mountains brightening in the sunrise was beautiful to see, feeling in my toes and limbs would have been nice. The mountains started off dark and slowly started lighting pink then red then finally a bright orange until the whole mountain was covered in yellow light. We had been at Dream Lake for almost 3 hours and decided we had enough of the cold. We walked back down the path we took up the mountain in pitch-black darkness amazed at the beautiful scenery we had unknowingly walked past earlier that morning. Golden light painted the tips of the pine trees and made the ice slicked steps glisten.
Down on the main land, the weather warmed up. We drove an endless, winding, highway 82 around mountains and hills till we came to Independence Pass high in the Rocky Mountains; it’s the part of North America that divides the Hudson Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean drainages. Gradually, more yellow trees began to appear after that; tall Aspen trees with white, sliced, trunks dotted parts of the hills until they engulfed any other kind of tree. (We would see many, many more in Kebler Pass).
Our last stop of the evening was Maroon Bells close to sunset. It’s our version of Lake Louise, a beautiful twin peaked mountain, reputed to be the most photographed spot in all of Colorado. The earth below is a soft, red, clay that mucks up at the edge of the water and feels like stepping in thick mud. We stayed and photographed for an hour or so, the final bits of that days light falls over the snowy peaks until the whole lake was shaded. Aspen proved to be a charming little area. Whether it was hordes of Elk crossing the road in the dead of night or foxes waddling around cars by the hotel, the area seemed to be teeming with wildlife and wasn’t afraid of letting it mingle.