Ypsilon Lake – It Sure Ain’t the Smokies

Ypsilon Lake

We woke up at 5:30 A.M. to strong winds and light drizzle. So we scratched the idea of going above treeline and headed for a hike in the trees to Ypsilon Lake – 9 miles and over 2,000 ft.

Ypsilon Lake Trail is close to the Falls River entrance. We crossed a stream early in the hike but most of the hike was in the trees. Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) seems to have two types of pines – Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pines. Both are being attacked by a native beetle which is killing the trees. The trees are too close together because the park has been suppressing fires for a long time.

Before we reached the lake at the end point, we passed a small pond which wasn’t even on the map. There are so many ponds and waterfalls here that many are not even named.

Unlike the Smokies, RMNP was subject to the forces of glaciers and has a large number of  lakes. Some look more glacier than others. This one had a rocky mountain as the background along with rock falls going all the way down to the lake.

As we drove around, we noticed many private inholdings; private land and homes within RMNP. All these date back to when the park was created in 1915. Unlike the Smokies, people did not have to sell and leave the park. They could stay on their land and pass it on to their heirs. In some cases, the land could be bought and sold on the open market.

So why was this different? Each park was created under an act of Congress and 1915 was a different time than 1934. Still I can’t help think that people who owned land in RMNP had a lot more clout than those in the Smokies.

Even the Knoxville families who owned the Elkmont cabins had to leave in the 1980s and 1990s. The last one left in 2001. I’d sure like to hear opinions from others.

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