The front range was glistening with fresh snow as we traveled north out of Denver. Well over a foot of snow had recently blanketed the area. My mind drifted back to the many winters I spent along the front range. During my twenty years in the area, I lived in Dacono, Frederick, Erie, and Loveland. I attended school in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder, and Campion. The house that we lived in just outside of Erie was situated on top of a rolling hill and had a beautiful, unobstructed view of the mountains. That amazing view is permanently etched into my memory.
My nephew, my wife, and I were on our way from Denver to Estes Park. The slanted, reddish-brown sandstone formations called the Flatirons that make up a portion of Boulder’s foothills on the west side of town, were covered in white. We stopped to take photos of the iconic Boulder landmarks. For the past several days, This area of Colorado had been receiving large amounts of snow. By the time we reached Estes Park, it had started to snow once again.
After an amazing lunch at the Café de Pho Thai, we headed up into Rocky Mountain National Park. The snow became heavier as we drove into the park. Traffic was light as we made our way past places that brought back waves of nostalgia. Both my wife and I spent time in Rocky Mountain National Park as we were growing up. When we married, we spent the first six years living in Loveland, 35 miles from the park. Rocky Mountain National Park was our favorite place to go when we had free time. We made many wonderful memories there.
Our destination was Bear Lake. One of the most popular places in the park, Bear Lake lies nestled in a glacial valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks and pristine forest. Because it is so popular, it is very crowded in the summertime. We had not visited Bear Lake for many years. It has become so crowded, that often the only way you can reach the lake is by shuttle bus.
Perched at 9,475 feet, Bear Lake sits in a high valley. Hallet Peak, with an elevation of 12,713 feet, stands guard directly above Bear Lake and the diamond face of 14,259-foot Longs’ Peak stands to the east. When you look at the mountains surrounding the lake, you will notice several V- and U-shaped canyons along the sides of high peaks. These canyons are evidence of glaciers and the tremendous power they have in molding the landscape.
When we arrived at Bear Lake, there were just a few cars in the parking lot. When we climbed down out of the truck and attached the microspikes to our shoes, the cold went right through us. It was snowing, and the flakes swirled around us. The thermometer showed eighteen degrees, and there was a nice mountain breeze. As we made our way down the short trail to the lake, snow covered almost all of the fence that marked the trail. The sign at the visitors center said that there were 52 inches of snow on the ground. Several more inches fell during the day.
With the microspikes on our shoes, we had no trouble with the slippery snow-packed trail. As I remembered all of those winter visits to Bear Lake many years ago, I thought about how nice it would have been to have microspikes back then. My wife and I spent many quiet winter weekends in the park. Those are some of our fondest memories.
One winter visit came vividly to my memory. It was a sunny cold day, and we were hiking around the lake. Because of the heavy snow on the ground, it was hard to tell where the trail was. At one point, we got off of the trail and were too close to the lake. As I took a step in the snow, my body broke through the snow and ice into the water below. We made our way back to the car as quickly a possible to get warmed up.
We had a wonderful afternoon in Rocky Mountain National Park. With the snow falling, it had it’s own special kind of beauty. It seemed that every campground, every picnic area, every road, every herd of elk, brought out a story. It was a warm fuzzy trip down memory lane. Happy memories make our life better. Remembering the good things that have happened to us helps us to live better lives in the present.
Psalms 77:11 (GNT) says, “I will remember your great deeds, LORD; I will recall the wonders you did in the past.” My memories become some of my greatest praises. As I remember the times that I have seen God working in my life, It gives me hope no matter what challenges life gives me in the present. If you are a Christian who is trying to learn how to trust in God more, then look back to what He has done in the past. Sometimes Satan tries to make us believe that past deliverances were just a coincidence. Don’t let Satan deceive you. Look back to those times and remember how God took care of you. “Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.” Pslams 107:31 (NLT)
Gentle Reader, your memories of how God had worked in your life in the past are an ever-growing reservoir of past grace. It is important to remember and to be thankful for these experiences. Remembering the past helps our future by increasing our faith in God. “I remember what happened long ago; I consider everything you have done. I think about all you have made.” Psalms 143:5 (NCV)