Friday, October 17, 2014

The Top of the World

At least it felt like the top of the world.

We were fortunate enough to visit Rocky Mountain National Park last week just days before the Trail Ridge Road closed for the season.  Up on top it was cold and windy, and did I mention cold and windy and there wasn't enough air?  I mostly limited my snapshots to recording the drive, while Tom ventured farther afield with a real camera.

The road summit (coming and going) is at 12,184' above sea level.

Fall colors.

Fall Creek, near the campground bearing its name.

Estes Park was celebrating the annual "Elk Festival".   These attendees were nearby.

More to enjoy from Tom:

Higher and higher.

And down again.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Colorful Colorado - St Vrain State Park

Outside of a miserably hot dog-show weekend in Colorado Springs two years ago, the only appreciable time we've spent in Colorado has been in the Grand Junction area in the Southwest.  Jeri suggested that we take in some fall colors, so we booked two nights at St Vrain State Park outside of Longmont.

The two nights turned into five.

Five nights of colorful sunsets over the Rockies.

Five nights of violet sunsets reflected in the ponds.

Five still clear mornings basking in the sun.

From Thursday through Monday we had three different campsites.  The first was on the farthest south loop and next to Red Tail Pond.  The loops to the south of the entrance road are pull-through with full hookups but gravel roads.  The area is newer, less developed and with smaller trees.  There are markers where they are going to build a trail around that pond but it is not yet done.

We did not have reservations for the weekend and the park was full except for one site: the handicapped site which is held for "walk up" registration if not reserved.  The site is on the farthest west loop, directly across from Sandpiper Pond.  Those sites have paved roads, water and electric, but no sewer.  The trees are mature and the walking trails are well-developed.  We took many dog-walks around Killdeer Pond.

The site across from Sandpiper Pond.

We would have stayed in that site the final night, but there  a small issue of a kajillion seven-year-old munchkins who were belched out of two school-buses on Monday.  We were warned about the trip by Jeri, as son Jack was one of the campers.  We did not know that we were inadvertently occupying the single site on the loop they were otherwise filling.

We moved back to the newer side of the park, to the second site on the outside of the loop on Bald Eagle Pond.  There were two issues to that site: first that it was much closer to I-25 so noiser, and second that the walking path went between the rigs on the outside of the loop and the pond.  It was not as great a dog-walking experience as either of the other sites.

We loved the area: it is a good blend of urban living with its advantages and the beauty of the rural, both mountains and plains.  I am reminded of the John Denver line "Coming home to a place he'd never been before."

We look forward to spending more time in the region.