Saturday, June 30, 2012

Rocky Mountain National Park… some more

We had so much fun on our day at Rocky Mountain National Park, I had to break it into two posts. After our morning spent exploring various parts of the park with some very short hiking, we decided to see what was at the end of this one road that looked like it went deep into the park according to our map.  If you've been here before, you probably drove this road.  Just to let you know how much we DIDN'T know about the park, we had no idea what beauty we were about to see.  Jaw dropping, actually.  It was called Trail Ridge Road, and it leads up to a peak above 12,000 feet. Apparently we drove this same road when I was a kid and my family visited Colorado, and it is possible Blake did as well, but neither of us remembered this specific road. Now, if you remember, from my first post about Rocky Mountain National Park, we asked the park ranger as we entered what we shouldn't miss and what would be great for a family with little kids. WHY DID HE NOT MENTION THIS DRIVE?
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This was about the point I started…. freaking out a bit.  Blake quickly got me in check by telling me that I was going to scare Egan. Thanks dear.  What you can't see is that there is a MAJOR drop off on both sides of the road. BOTH SIDES. No rail.  It actually makes me a little nervous looking at these pictures and I've never been one that is scared of heights.IMG 5596
And then we saw this.  That's a guy on a bike.  Pulling a trailer. On a road. With no rails. Up to 12,000 feet.  For the record, he made it.  We saw him at the top. (There were lots of other bikers doing the same thing. Sorry, but that just seems crazy.)IMG 5590
We also saw these elk along the way.
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This is probably a good point to share that as we were talking about what we might see in the park, Egan was most excited to see an Aoudad. If you click that link, you will see they live in Africa.  We had to break the news that we would not be seeing Aoudads on this trip. Or giraffes… they were his next request. (To his credit, he frequently sees both of those animals at Fossil Rim.)
Once we made it to the top of the mountain, we saw these four male elk on the side of the mountain.  They weren't visible from the parking lot, so I took a short walk down till I was about 50 yards away to see these guys and get a few pictures.
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The view from the top. We brought along a picnic lunch, so this was our view as we ate. ahhhhh.
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We then let Egan pick a little souvenir. This was what he picked.  I don't know if he'd ever seen a snow globe, and he thought it was the coolest thing ever. I got a little chuckle when from the back seat of the car I hear him talking about the "big moose in the front and the hippo eating in the back."  I explained that a moose and an elk do look similar, but this was an elk.  The hippo?  I don't know what made him think the animal in the background was a hippo, but he did.  I explained it too was an elk.  It just looked like it was a little different color than the other one. I think we need to work on our geography in relationship to animals.  I just love that boy.
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Eventually it was time to head back to our room for nap time, but this was our view on the descent.
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We thought this little lake was so cool. (little? probably not.)IMG 5668IMG 5682
Then as we descended further, we saw the smoke from the fires that were burning in Colorado.  From the news, seems like these fires got much worse after we left.   What we saw was pretty shocking even then!IMG 5701
So, if you get to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, we highly recommend taking Trail Line Drive.  It was a beautiful drive, and there were lots of places to stop along the way to get out and walk and explore.  We were only able to drive and get out at the end on this trip, but next time we will know what we want to go and see!

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