Rocky Mountain National Park — August 31, 2009
Our last day of travel on our way to Rocky Mountain National Park should have been our shortest of the three days. However, the GPS showed us getting to the park at 5:30 P.M., about the same time we stopped each of the first two days.
We were traveling mostly on two-lane highways, missing most of the freeway traffic — and bypassing most of the urban areas along the eastern slope of the Rockies, though I made one change to our route while traveling that had us going straight into Denver until I got it straightened out when we stopped at a big box store — (WalMart).
Unlike the previous day, there was virtually no wind. Unfortunately it was very hazy and we had no chance to see the mountains until we were almost up to them.
This was the worst day, so far, for delays due to road construction.
On the last stretch of road heading into Estes Park, we had to wait for a lead vehicle to guide us through the construction area.
We were the first in line and a long line of traffic built up behind us. We tow a small car behind our small motorhome and I was a little afraid that I would have to pull over to allow faster vehicles to pass on the hills.
It didn’t happen. I was able to maintain the speed limit going up hill and, after 2 minutes, there was only 2 cars behind us — and by the time I pulled over to let the faster vehicles by, there was only one. The other cars must have all turned off — or got hung up behind a slow vehicle.
As we got closer to Estes Park, the haze began to look more and more like smoke. In other years, when we’ve been in the mountains, there were many forest fires in the mountains to the west of us, which isn’t the case this year. We were wondering if it might not be the fires in California.
Our campsite in Estes Park is wonderful. The campground is on top of a lateral moraine — built up from the debris that was pushed to the side by glaciers during ice ages.
A trail next to us goes down into the meadows where the elk feed and breed during the fall of the year. We’ve already been able to see quite a few elk after supper when we took a drive. It wasn’t until we got back that we realized that they were actually quite near to where we’re camped.
We also drove up to Bear Lake. There are a lot of good trails in the area. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some hiking in.
Oh, and the GPS was wrong. I’m not sure what error I made, but we were in the park and set up by the middle of the afternoon.