Monday, June 5, 2023

A Walk Around Lily Lake in Rocky Mountian National Park

My husband and I both have birthdays in June so we made plans a while ago to take a few days away to celebrate and go to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and visit Rocky Mountain National Park, one of our favorite Colorado places. We've visited the park often in the past, and you can see all our past visits on this blog-label link.  

Located on the south side of Rocky Mountain National Park on Colorado Highway 7 between Estes Park and Wild Basin, Lily Lake is a scenic alpine lake at 8,931 feet ( 2722.169 M) elevation that offers a flat, accessible 0.8-mile trail around its perimeter.  We knew we'd pass Lily Lake on our drive, so we were happy to be able to stop and take a walk around it before driving on to the hotel for check-in. 

A Rocky Mountain National Park Access timed entry reservation is required to access Lily Lake from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from May 26 to October 22, 2023.  We arrived after two p.m., so we were able to enter the area without the permit and luckily found a parking spot as the parking lot is not very large. There are restrooms and picnic tables in this area so it is a popular stop.

Please click on this photo to enlarge it to read

As soon as you enter the lake trail there is a placard that gives the story of Enos Mills, known as "The Father of Rocky Mountian National Park" due to his 1907 proposal to Congress to preserve this region of the Rocky Mountains as a national park, which was approved in 1915 as the tenth national park.

The walk around the lake is easy and scenic. It was a nice way for us to stretch our legs after driving for almost two hours from our home. During the summer, the area is teeming with birds such as hummingbirds and ducks. You might even catch sight of a moose feeding on the nearby willows.  Colorado's state amphibian, the western tiger salamander, lives in Lily Lake and we were fortunate to spot a few.  There are also numerous moderate and challenging hiking trails originating from the Lily Lake location. These trails include Twin Sisters, Lily Ridge, Storm Pass, and a lengthier journey to Estes Cone.

Colorado has been experiencing an abundance of rainfall this spring and the days we visited the park were no exception, as they were cloudy, cool, and rainy.   We saw some dramatic weather at times which I'll show in later posts. The rain has made the landscape very lush and green and after years of drought, the plentiful rainfall has been a true blessing!

During our hike along the lake trail, we observed several rocks covered in thick green lichen. Although we didn't come across many wildflowers, we did see some miniature white flowers that I believe are Rocky Mountain Pussytoes. We also noticed several trees and tree limbs that had fallen and were arranged in tent-like piles. While on the trail, we had a pleasant conversation with two young female park rangers who informed us that these piles of forest slash would be burned in controlled fires in the future. They were so happily passionate about their job as Mountain Park Rangers, and I couldn't help but feel a twinge of envy.

We enjoyed our peaceful walk around Lily Lake, meeting the rangers and enjoying nature.

Now it was time to drive on to Estes Park, Colorado, and check in to The Stanley Hotel...more about that in my next post.

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Monday, May 29, 2023

Blueberry Breakfast Cake


I absolutely love the abundance of fresh, domestically grown blueberries during this time of year. They are definitely one of my favorite treats and I always keep a pint in my fridge. Aside from enjoying them as is, I like adding them to my breakfast cereal or yogurt, as well as using them in pies or muffins. It's always exciting to discover new ways to incorporate them into my meals.

You have the option to prepare the Blueberry Breakfast Cake recipe using either an 8-inch pie pan or a springform pan.

When it comes to my baking requirements, I prefer to use a springform pan. Recently, I got my hands on a brand new red Nordic Ware springform pan from the King Arthur website, which I absolutely love. I would like to mention that I am not being compensated for sharing this information, but I genuinely admire the top-notch quality of their products.

I absolutely loved the cake's texture - it was both custardy and light, with the added bonus of juicy blueberries bursting throughout. Its unique combination of textures reminds me of both clafouti and Dutch baby, making it the ideal centerpiece for a fancy breakfast or even as a dessert after dinner. What's more, the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons of sugar (124g), which means each serving contains a mere 28g of total carbohydrates. It was a wonderful treat!  You can find the complete recipe by visiting the King Arthur Flour website through this link.  If you're looking for some guidance and tips on this recipe, you may want to check out the King Arthur Flour blog post through this link which shares the same recipe.

June is just around the corner and the schools in Colorado have already wrapped up this academic year. Our family has been keeping busy with our grandchildren's end-of-school events and sports activities with a few more big events still on the horizon to keep us busy. 

Let us take a moment on this Memorial Day to pay tribute and show our respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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