Nokoni and Nanita Lakes

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Nanita Lake

The remote Nanita Lake!

Hiking details:

  •   Mileage: 22 miles round trip to Nanita, 20 miles round trip to Nokoni
  • Altitude: 10,780 feet
  • Elevation gain: 2,240 feet
  • To get there: Begin at the North Inlet trail head north of the town of Grand Lake.

I am slipping into the chilly water of Nanita. It is expansively quiet here. There is no one around, and such rare solitude and freedom calls for a skinny dip. But it’s only moments before I am back on the rocks, covered in goose bumps and drying in the sun while Alex fishes.

Alex with one of many trout we caught in Nanita.

Alex with one of many trout we caught in Nanita.

Andrew’s Peak and Ptarmigan Towers rise above us. We sat briefly on a bridge on the way up looking straight at Nakoni, but it was Nanita that we settled in at Nanita is still and the sky is clear, but we only have about an hour here. We have come up to the lakes as a side trip on our longer backpacking trip from Bear Lake to Grand Lake. Although the extra 8 miles is worth the sight alone, I wish we had a lazy afternoon to spend at these most remote of lakes.

The fish are naïve, biting for Alex every ten minutes. After first casting the fly line into the tree behind me, I catch my first fish. It is tugging at the rod and Alex is directing me, his hands clasped around mine.

“Now you do this,” he says, motioning in some mysterious way.

“Do what, do what!?” I ask, frantic with a fish on the line.

Laughing, confused, I hand him the rod and he brings it in for us to look at.

As is the case often enough in national parks, we are reveling in the moments of solitude that the trail has led us to, and we slip quietly into our own areas of relaxation: he with his fishing rod and me with my book.

Hiking details from “Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park,” by Kent and Donna Dannen.

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