Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park-Day 1



The morning started with a beautiful sunrise.




We headed over to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) around 9 am.  Today was National Park Day so entry to all parks was free.  There were quite a few people, but we didn’t have any major traffic problems.  The plan was to drive the 50 miles from one side of the park to the other on Trail Ridge Road.  First we stopped at the Moraine Park Visitor Center to watch the movie and to stamp my National Parks Passport.

P1000318 We drove to the Sheep Lakes area to see if we could spot any elk.  We saw a ton of cars pulled over so we knew we were in luck :)



P1000326 As we drove further into the park, the mountain views grew more and more beautiful.  Out of nowhere a wave of emotion swept over me.  The splendor of the scenery really got to me.  I started thinking about how lucky we are to be living this life; and before I knew it, tears were running down my face.  Kevin just goes with the flow.  He knows I get a little wacky sometimes :)

P1000328 I saw this bird at one of the lookout areas.  He was sitting on this sign right next to all kinds of people, and it didn’t seem to phase him one bit.  I believe he is a Clark’s Nutcracker.


P1000335 On the western side of the park is Grand Lake.  The mountains on this side of the park are called the Never Summer Mountains.  You can see some of the aspen.  The park didn’t have as many aspen as I imagined, but they are in full color and gorgeous!

P1000337 On our way back to the east side of the park, we stopped and hiked a few short trails.  We plan on doing some more hiking this week.  Today was a get acquainted with the park day.  One of the hikes was along this small stream.  It’s actually the Colorado River.  The headwaters start in the mountains in the park.  Can you believe this is the same river that roars through the Grand Canyon.

P1000340 Our final hike for today was at an area called Rock Cut.  This was a mile hike climbing 260 feet.  The trailhead started at 12,110 feet elevation.  It felt like we were on top of the world.


I took lots of pictures, but pretty soon they all start to look the same so I won’t show you anymore today :)

Back in town we stopped at Estes Park Mountain Shop where I bought a pair of Merrell hiking shoes.  I’ve heard from several other fulltimers that these are great shoes for hiking.  They were on sale for $64.99.  I know they regularly run around $100 so I broke down and bought a pair.  My tennis shoes really weren’t cutting it today.

I’m tired tonight, but it’s a good tired :)

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Rocky Mountain National Park-Day 2

Yesterday Kevin’s cousin Mark, his wife, Dolly and their 20 year old son, Daniel came for a visit.  They live in a suburb of Denver and were kind enough to drive 1-1/2 hours to come see us. 

Mark and his boys are avid hikers and outdoorsmen.  We decided to take a hike in the Bear Lake area of RMNP.  Mark told us he’d choose a trail that wouldn’t be too strenuous.  We took the trail to The Loch.  This trail is 6.2 miles roundtrip with an increase in elevation of 990 feet.  If you figure one story of an office building is 10 feet, that would be the equivalent of walking up 99 stories.  The Loch at the end of the trail was worth it.  What an amazing view.  It’s a crystal clear lake surrounded by mountains with Andrews Glacier visible on the side of one of the mountains.  It was so nice to rest for a while and enjoy the spiritual essence of the place.  There isn’t a cathedral in the world that could compare for a Sunday visit.   We could have continued on the trail to a lake at the base of the glacier.  It would have been only an extra 2 miles with another 700 foot increase in elevation.  Instead we decided to go back.  We appreciated the fact that Mark chose a trail where we could push ourselves a little, but we’re not crazy :)

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera.  Luckily, Mark and Dolly brought theirs and will be emailing me a few pictures they took for us.  I’ll post them as soon as I get them.  I’m really glad we did the hike.  It was a bit strenuous, but the exercise felt great and the payoff was an awesome reward.  Both Kevin and I believe our knees are actually feeling better after a few days of hiking.

I’m loving my new Merrell hiking shoes.  The trail yesterday was quite rocky, and I’m sure the bottoms of my feet would have been quite miserable in tennis shoes.  I highly recommend the Merrell’s for anyone planning on doing any hiking.

The weather has been phenomenal.  Highs have been in the 80s and nighttime lows in the 40s.  We have noticed a definite difference in the weather due to the altitude.  The sun feels more intense and seems brighter.  Once the sun goes down, the temperatures drop like a rock.  It’s been sunny every day, and we just couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. And the star viewing at night is incredible!!  An added bonus is no mosquitoes and no flies :)

Rocky Mountain Trees Killed by Beetles Something that is very noticeable in RMNP are the amount of dead pine trees.  The park is suffering from a pine beetle epidemic.  I would guess 50% of the pine trees in certain areas are dead.  It’s due to the average temperatures being higher than average for the past 10 years and prolonged periods of low precipitation.  It’s considered a natural phenomenon, but it’s sad to see so many dead trees.  I’m guessing there will come a time when a fire will destroy much of the dead wood.  You can see all of the brown dead trees in the picture.

We’re off to do some more hiking today, and I won’t be forgetting my camera!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!