RMNP is not so different than Glacier, taller peaks here for sure. Both have roads that span the spine of the Rockies. Trail Ridge road (here) makes the claim of being the highest continuous road in the country. By continuous, they mean you can travel between two places, Estes Park and Grand Lake. The nearby Mt. Evans road is 2,000 feet higher, but dead ends at the top. I file this information with all the claims about so many bridges being the longest, highest, etc.
Like in Glacier, Yellowstone, etc. any four legged animal that can been seen from the roadside will cause a traffic jam. Today it was elk. Antlers are in velvet.
For our first three days here, the mornings have been warm and sunny. The afternoons alternate between clouds with rain/hail and then back to sunny. The wind swings between moderate and gusty most of the day. I think it’s called katabatic wind, cold air dropping down from the peaks.
We did a short, two mile, hike Wednesday morning. Dorothy was huffing and puffing before we got to the trail. The altitude affects her more than me. With several short rest stops we made it to a scenic lake.
Sprague Lake My hiking buddy
So far the campground is mostly vacant and quiet. But the weekend is coming. We picked a site with no trees, so our solar panels are making juice all day. There is a dump and fresh water so we are comfortable. Four Asians were across from us one night. They were in a sub-compact Toyota. What was remarkable to us is that they slept in the car – all four of them. They cooked a large breakie on a hibachi. We went to the Discovery Center and then spent another hour taking photographs. When we got back they were still cooking but now steaks.
First decent picture I have gotten this trip. Slightly juiced with iPhoto. I usually avoid a scene with people in it. But, I decided what the hey, there is a fly fishermen in this one.
Friday is the day the unwashed hordes with their untamed kids and dogs appear. If they are wearing a RMNP sweat shirt with shorts they are tourists who never thought it might be cool at elevation. We have shared the campground with a few folks all week. Very quiet. Today tents are up in all directions, kids peddle by on their bikes screaming and those freaking little dogs that people hold in their arms dogs bark. God Bless America.
We hiked to Alberta Falls today. At 8:30 in the morning we were one of 13 cars in a line bound for the trailhead parking lot. Thankfully once on the trail we were by ourselves. The falls were impressive, but you could not view them face on. On the way back we missed the sign and hiked uphill a half mile out of our way. Retracing our steps back down the hill, we noted that you had to walk pass the sign, then turn around to see it. It turned a two mile hike into three miles. Grumble. Dorothy was about dead. There was a woman taking pictures at the falls by going out on ledges and then holding her arm out. No fear. I kept my camera on her as I wanted a shot of her dropping into the gorge – certain death. Darn it.
Dorothy’s Version -
Friday, June 13 - When we arrived at RMNP, I decided that we should hike to Alberta Falls on this day since it was supposed to be the best day of our stay here. It's a gorgeous day - sun shinning and warm temperatures. We left the cg around 8:30 and were on the trail at 8:50. It was a nice easy trail, so the elevation of 9200' did not bother me too much. We have been at elevations above 5000' for about of month, but neither of us really adjust. The falls are beautiful with lots of water running over the large rocks. We stopped for a little while to make pictures, then decided to continue up the trail as it would probably take us to the top of the falls. The trail is not as well maintained as it is to the falls and after a very short time, I decided that I should not go any further. There was still a mile hike to get back to the car. Don continued on a little ways and then returned to the falls and climbed up some of the rocks to get a better view.
I slowly continued walking to the car because the falls were getting crowded and noisy. I walked very slowly (I could have been an employee at the Jefferson County Court House!) and Don caught up with me. We continued to walk and the trail got steeper and steeper. This was making breathing a little difficult, so I had frequent stops. We had taken the trail to Bear Lake, which is a pretty glacier lake. Finally Don sees the parking lot, but I don't remember the shuttle stop (which only runs Saturday and Sunday). We were at the wrong parking lot. We had passed the sign to Glacier Basin parking lot. First we didn't see the sign and second, we didn't know it was Glacier Basin, after all we were hiking to Alberta Falls so that should have been the name of the parking lot. We had to retrace our steps for 1/2 mile and the continue a 1/2 mile to the correct parking lot. As we were retracing our steps, two people asked directions and they were also on the wrong trail. The direction signs were pointed in such a manner that you can only see them after you passed them and then turn around and look.
When we returned to the cg, we were too tired to eat so we took at nap before lunch. Lesson learned - I can go two miles, but someplace between two and a half and three miles is too much. I will be recovered by Saturday and we can go on another hike.
Alberta Falls – At The Bottom and The Top
Bear Lake – Included Only Because I Am A Sucker For Snaggle-Tooth Peaks. This section of the park reminds us the mountain lakes along US395 because of the spruce and granite.
PS – to Fly Fishing, about 20% of the people on the trails here carry a fly rod. You are suppose to release what you catch in the park, but we also see fish baskets hanging on their backs.
Sunday we will go into Loveland to re-supply and then head to some place along the Cache la Poudre River. I am sure there will be no cell coverage there. Until next time.