Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rocky Mtn National Park

I guess yesterday's post about the weather jinxed us, but hopefully just a little. As I posted the kids and Paula slept late as they desired. We went to the visitor center around Noon for a map and then into the park. Views of the snow capped peaks were seen as soon as we turned into a majestic valley. We quickly came upon a large elk (with a dozen other car travelers) grazing by the river and stopped briefly for a photo. As we began driving again and ascending Trail Ridge Road I was looking for a pull over with a great view of the peaks so I could get a photo. Then the clouds started descending. One peak after another vanished in the blink of an eye before a pull off could be found. A cold front had arrived and the mountains were obscured by clouds almost instantly and no pictures had been taken.

We made the best of the weather situation by heading into the valley and looking for more elk. Our youngest son, Jonathan, spotted one about 35 yards off the road near a stream that no other tourists had spotted. We were able to watch him through a small clearing in the trees for as long as we wanted. We next found a beautiful rushing stream and explored that before heading on to the Bear Lake parking area at the end of the road. We hiked to some beautiful mountain lakes sometimes bordering a mountain stream. Paula spotted a half dozen large spotted brown trout in the stream just waiting for some food to float by. Along the way we scrambled up some of the many craggy outcroppings. My oldest climbed about 50 feet straight up in only about 30 seconds and barely used his hands. He could be a great climber given a bit more training. There was also plenty of snow encountered on the way and some kids from Texas were completely amazed. Trail Ridge Road has only been open to traffic since Memorial Day if you can believe that.

We hit the tourist shops in Estes Park last evening before heading back to camp for hamburgers cooked over the fire combined with sweet corn, mashed potatos and green beans. A little Colorado fudge filled in the empty crevices.

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