Hanging Lake was completely spared by the Grizzly Creek fire. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

It was an anxious moment on the afternoon of Aug. 14 when the Grizzly Creek Fire operations flight passed over Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon.

White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams and Marcia Gilles, deputy district ranger for the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District, were on that flight.

They were fully prepared for a sinking feeling, not knowing the fate of the iconic lake and surrounding features — a visit to which could be described as a pilgrimage for some people, rather than a mere day-hike destination.

“All of the sudden the smoke parted and we looked down, and that lake looked as tranquil as it always does,” he said, admitting there were a few high fives and fist bumps in the plane.

RELATED: New photos show just how close Grizzly Creek fire came to Hanging Lake

The Grizzly Creek Fire started Aug. 10, and has since grown to more than 30,000 acres with 30% containment. The fire made two big runs covering several miles on Aug. 12 and 13 when it overtook the Hanging Lake area. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Read more on our partner site the Post Independent.

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