August 16, 2020

Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park


Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 16, 2020

It's now been 3 weeks since our visit to Colorado, but re-visiting the photos takes me right back there.  I've been excited to share our two days in Rocky Mountain National Park because we saw a lot of really cool stuff!

Miss Sheri likes to drive, so we challenged her with taking us up Old Fall River Road.  It's primarily a gravel road, one-way uphill and punctuated by switchbacks.  It's 11-miles-long and has no guard rails, so some of the drop-offs are very close and quite scary to look down.  The drive is a fun one through the park's wilderness to Fall River Pass, 11,796 feet above sea level.  I felt the need to watch out for falling rocks, but realized it would really hurt if one fell on my face while I was looking up to watch for them.

I really had the urge to get out of the car and wade into one of the river streams.  The water was pretty cold and the bottom felt quite sharp on my feet, but other than that it was quite thrilling.

We saw some magpie birds on our trip, but struggled to capture one of them to bring home.

We were all pretty excited when we sighted our first elk.  This guy was actually quite far away from us on the other side of the valley, but my camera has a pretty good zoom so we were able to get him.  Had I been closer I'm quite certain I would have tried to head-butt him just to see how it felt.

We made it to the top and some good people were kind enough to take a family photo of us.  That was very nice of them.

Miss Sheri and Avery scaled up another 1000 feet or so via some stairs.  I tried to go up there with them, but the high altitude got the best of me and I decided to let them head up on their own.  Dang lungs.

When we started our adventure back down the mountain, we saw a huge line of traffic backed up in front of us.  It was then we noticed a herd of about 50 elk had decided to cross the road and we had timed it just right so most of them crossed directly in front of our vehicle.  

We only saw a couple of males pass early in the group, but then there were a bunch of females and babies.  We were tickled when the moms would stop and call back to the babies so they could all stick together.  Such an incredible sight to be among this group.

I'm going to buy a baby elk one of these days.  They're so darn cute.

Farther down the mountain we saw a Mule Deer.  They're not quite as exciting to watch as the elk which is why I think the park keeps them in the cheaper seats.

On our second day of visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, Krazy Kory and Harli decided to join us.  They were staying at a very cool cabin with their very own stream in the backyard although I'm pretty sure they didn't have exclusive use of it.  It went through other yards also.

Kory used to live in Estes Park and pointed out this mountain range which the locals call the Sleeping Indian.  You can see his face on the right and his feet on the left.  I bet it's scary when he wakes up.

Kory convinced us to drive to Grand Lake deep in the Rocky Mountains for the afternoon.  We like to listen to Kory so did as we were told.

Supposedly this lake is something like 265 feet deep, but from here it didn't look any deeper than most other lakes I've seen.

We thought it would be fun to mask up and walk through town.  

It's nice that most restaurants have been able to set-up outdoor seating so we could eat and not have to be overly concerned about getting too close to other people.  Not sure what we're going to do when winter comes.

The highlight of day 2 in Rocky Mountain National Park was when we saw two moose along the side of the road.  The baby was very curious and walked close to us, but the adult stayed tucked away near the woods so we weren't able to get a great picture.  I'm pretty sure this was the first time any of us had ever seen a wild moose before, although I was a bit disappointed I didn't get the opportunity to ride it.  Next time I'm bringing my moose saddle.


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