Looming over Elk Meadow, Bergen Peak is a moody mountain characterized by long trails, steep terrain and abundant wildlife. Morning light gilds the peak with warmth but by dusk, deep shadows can only be expressed with dark blue.
The forest’s edge is always full of activity, featuring a variety of vocal birds, foraging rodents and grazing ungulates. It’s always surprising to spot reptiles so high up but I often see garter snakes stretched out across the trail.
A wet spring has triggered a profusion of wildflowers on the sunny, south-facing slopes while further along, a dense section of lodgepole pine is dark and devoid of much life. Brightening the way, a few aspen are still struggling to grasp some sunlight.
As you get closer, the path starts spiraling towards the top where rocky outcrops offer awesome views all the way around. The secluded summit is crowned with wind-blown trees and governed by a gang of hungry ground squirrels.
The trip back down may take some time but it’s not near as strenuous. Looking up from the meadow, Bergen appears to be a brutal behemoth but if you get to know the peak personally, you’ll discover that it’s really just a gentle giant.
|Long trails and steep terrain|
|Dark blue at dusk|
|The forest's edge|
|It's surprising to see snakes|
|A profusion of wildflowers|
|Aspen struggling for sunlight|
|Spiraling towards the summit|
|Awesome views all around|
|The top is governed by ground squirrels|
|Bergen is a gentle giant|