Rock Pond Trail

One of my goals this year is to go on new hikes.  I knew I wanted to take a new route on this camping trip, but I wasn’t sure which one to take.  I ended up settling on the Rock Pond trail, mainly because it included destinations of two new ponds I’d yet to visit, and it had the option of looping around Geer Pond, a favorite of mine.

It was a couple of miles from the campsite, so I took the truck to the trailhead.  While there I took a picture of the map to log my time and just so I’d be sure to have one while on the trail.  As I was looking at it I realized the map wouldn’t be of much use:  it was facing the wrong way!  You’d think they’d have been smarter than that when posting a map.  Luckily I know the area, but to someone who doesn’t, they’d get all turned around…

The hike was all downhill to the pond (about 2.5 miles one way) and followed a service road.  I was the only one on the trail… except for a white tailed deer I saw walking slowly towards me from the opposite direction.  She didn’t seem to notice me for a while, but once she did she bounded off the trail and was gone in a second.

I spent this part of the hike musing to myself as I followed the trail downward.  I thought for some time about my love for hiking: which is considerably more enjoyable while alone. 

Most thoughts centered around the kids, their lives, and how I fit into them.  This may seem like a simple task, but honestly, it’s not.  I’m questioning my role in Rebecca’s life specifically.  She’s graduated High School, and is off to college next month (but still living at home).  She doesn’t have a job, and I’ve been strongly pushing her to get one.  She doesn’t seem interested in this.  In fact, she doesn’t seem interested in much (therein lies the problem).  I’m wondering how to motivate her, if that’s even something I should be doing (or should I just let her figure it out on her own), and how I’ll be able to “kick her out” when she turns 18 and doesn’t have a job (something that will happen if she’s not employed). 

She’s begun complaining about everything that doesn’t have to do with guard (something she’s willing to drive hours away to participate in), and none of her hobbies have money earning potential.  She feels distanced from former close friends, and honestly needs direction.  However, I don’t feel she wants to take it from me.  Personally I’m feeling as if I’ve lost my best friend, as now I actually have to play the “mom” part in our relationship.  Neither of us is enjoying this much.  I want my best friend back! 

No one tells you the hardest part of parenting is letting them go to figure life out on their own.

I made it to the section of the trail that let me choose between going to Rock Pond or Brook Pond.   I love to hike and the weather was hovering around a nice 90 degrees with no chance of thunderstorms, so this was an easy choice for me.  I’d visit both. 

I’m so glad I did!  I only added less than half a mile to the hike, but some really cool experiences!

I found some wild strawberries on the trail.  I’ve found strawberries while hiking before, but never quite so many!  Usually I see one here and there… this time I saw small “fields” of strawberries in several spots along the hillside  So cool! 

They looked a bit overripe, so I tried a few.  They tasted amazing!  Warm from the sun they were hands down the best strawberries I’ve ever had (if a bit small…)

I grabbed a few to add flavor to my drink and some to bring back to the kids at the campsite, and headed down to Brook Pond. 

The pond was small, but clear.  I could see lots of trout swimming near the shore, and a few jumping in the middle.  Most were only about the size of my hand, too small to “catch”, but knowing they were there gave hope to future fishing opportunities. This was a pond I’d swim in if I’d had the proper gear…

I circled the water and came to a small stream feeding the pond.  I figure this was the perfect time to try out the water-proofness of my new hiking boots, and crossed in a mucky area.  They passed the test!

Knowing I was close to Rock Pond I decided to continue on and take a break there.  It only took about 10 minutes of walking to get there. This pond looked deeper than the previous, colder, and not quite as inviting.  I didn’t see any fish.

I sat for a few minutes, enjoyed the cherries I’d brought for lunch, then was quickly on my way.  It was 1pm and I wanted to get back to the kids before they worried. 

I decided to take the trail that went by Geer Pond, mainly because I didn’t want to hike back up that service road.  I’d much rather make it a loop than hike back from where I’d already been. Once again, another great choice!

Almost immediately the trail sloped upward at quite a steep angle.  This made sense:  I’d come down the entire way here, which meant I had to hike up at some point to make it back to the trailhead.  I saw some Columbine flowers along the trail.  I love seeing Columbines while hiking!

After about a mile (that passed quickly) I came across some small waterfalls, hidden inside small rock caves.  They looked cool and inviting, and I wished I’d had a handkerchief to get wet in the water.  Or a book.  I needed to spend more time here, and I absolutely need to bring the kids here to “play” sometime soon!

These waterfalls lasted for about a quarter of a mile, then all of the sudden, I was at the back end of Geer Pond!  I knew this because I’d played with the kids in this waterfall a few times before!

I found a few cool flowers:  Alpine Kittentails

and then I was at Geer Pond. No one was at this pond either.  All weird since it was about 1:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday in July.  I kept thinking the entire time what fun it would be to snowshoe these trails!

Lost Pond was a bit of a disappointment. It seemed murkier than usual.  There were some really large salamanders that were fun to watch however.  And lots of flies.  I didn’t stay long.

The hike out took about another half an hour.  I made it to the trailhead at 2pm, which made it a 2 hour hike.  I covered just over 5 miles, and stopped a bit to enjoy nature, so I considered it a success!

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

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