Suddenly the trail flattens out and the aspen forest ends. Abruptly. You step out into a wide open field. It's like the meadow in Bambi, although I hope this meadow doesn't experience such tragic horrible things as the one in Bambi does. The meadow isn't the prettiest thing in the fall, but I still like the sudden openness of it.
I'm getting good at taking my own picture. A useful skill when hiking alone.
Briefly you enter another grove of aspens and then...poof. You're at the lake. It's not a very glamorous lake with dramatic shorelines, but the reflections are serene and beautiful, especially in autumn.
Then the ducks came. I don't know what was up with these ducks. They were like little puppies that follow you to the bus stop. As soon as they saw me, they got in and swam over. I couldn't imagine that they get fed so much up here that they expected me to give them anything but they came over just the same. I decided to take pictures of them till they got scared...but they never got scared. They didn't expect food, they got out of the water and just stood by me like my cats do when I'm in the kitchen. They started eating by me and didn't run away when I stuck my camera right in their face to get a picture. I didn't ever have to zoom in, in fact I had to set the macro on my camera to focus as such a close distance. Sometimes I even had to snap my fingers to get them to look at me. They followed me around the lake and watched me go back down the trail when I left. I think they were just lonely and wanted someone to hang out with.
I started to walk around the lake, but about halfway I hit a wall of death. Something was rotting. The smell was so powerful I couldn't keep going. If I took one more step I'd vomit. I didn't even want to open my mouth to breath afraid I'd taste it. I don't know what was dead further up the trail but it smelled like about 5 moose and maybe a herd of elk. I was kind of curious to find out, maybe it was a person and I'd have to call the police, that would be exciting, but did I really want to be the one to find a dead body in the woods? What if it was a baby moose, I'd be so sad. I couldn't stand the smell anyway so I left and now I'll always wonder.