Posts tagged Rocky Mountain National Park
Posts tagged Rocky Mountain National Park
Watch me fall on my butt at Rocky Mountain National Park!
I have more videos I’ll be adding over the next few days. Most are either little updates from the road that I never had the chance to post, or groggy morning/tired evening video blogs from the campsites.
Miles traveled: 460
States: 2 (Colorado, Utah)
Woke up early with the intention of doing a little bit more sightseeing at RMNP and then getting on the road to Moab/Arches before noon. I decided to drive up Trail Ridge Road toward Grand Lake before leaving for Arches. However, I underestimated how long it would take to drive the entire road. I only made it about 1/3 of the way before it became clear I’d have to turn back in order to check out of my campsite in time.
Along the way, I was treated to some spectacular views as I climbed to more than 2 miles above sea level. At my highest point, I was somewhere in the vicinity of 12,000 feet above sea level.
I turned around and made my way back to camp, stopping briefly at a bighorn sheep crossing to see if I might be able to spot any crossing. I didn’t see any sheep, but I did catch glimpses of a deer and a couple of coyotes.
Once on the road, it was a long haul down I-70 to Moab, UT. It was a pretty tough drive, to be honest. I was quite tired, the altitude changes were really messing with me, and the sun was in my eyes for a good portion. Regardless, it was very pretty and included some very impressive stretches like the Eisenhower Tunnel and Glenwood Canyon. I sort of wish I would have taken US 6 over the Continental Divide, but I had to make good time to get to Utah in time to find accommodations for the night.
Once in Moab, I searched the listings for local campgrounds, but didn’t find anything with vacancies. I ended up staying at Moab Rustic Inn. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the ratings online seemed to be generally positive and the sign said it was the “best value in Moab.” I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful, the price was great, and the room was clean and stocked with just about anything I could need. I paid less than $80 for the night. The only other places in town with prices that low were places like Super 8 Motel. I got a deal because it was getting late and they wanted to fill rooms, and when I got to the room, I found it had a refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and a full supply of dishes, all of which you’ll rarely find even at a $100/night chain hotel.
I stayed up fairly late going through pictures from Rocky Mountain, and fell asleep sometime after midnight.
Miles traveled: N/A
States: 1 (Colorado)
Camp: Aspenglen Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park
What an amazing day. What an amazing place. It’s almost hard to believe there can be places this beautiful. I think sometimes I see images from overseas and forget that there are amazing locations and beautiful landscapes here in the US, too.
When I set up camp the night before, I set alarms for 9:00, 9:15, and 9:30, knowing that I had to be checked out of my site by noon. I never needed them, though, as I woke up at 7:30. It’s such a treat to be able to look out your tent screen and see an incredible mountain scene. It only got better after that, as I saw an elk wander just across the road from my campsite.
Wanting to make the most of my day, I quickly packed up camp and got on my way. I had barely made it out of the campground before I saw a beautiful cascading stream. I spent almost an hour there taking photos. It gave me a great opportunity to experiment with long exposures, and I really like the results.
From there I moved on to Sprague Lake. I can’t say enough nice things about this area. It was stunningly beautiful and had a very nice walking trail around it. People were all around, taking in the sights. I had a few friendly conversations with other walkers as I made my way down the path. After walking the path around the lake, I found a different one through the woods along a stream and walked that for a mile or so.
Later in the day I decided to do some fishing near the visitors center in town. I didn’t catch anything, and in fact only had one bite. As usual, though, the scenery was great. I even saw a few elk wandering along the fairway at the nearby golf course.
When I got back to camp from fishing, it started to rain, which killed my fire almost before it started. Rather than try to rebuild the fire and cook in the rain, I decided to go to town. I had dinner at Ed’s Cantina and Grill, where at one point two men in ghillie suits ran through, pretty much scaring the life out of another group of diners.
After dinner I went back to camp, took a few photos, and called it a night.
Expect plenty of pictures after this post.
A preview of what’s to come from Rocky Mountain National Park.
Miles traveled: 490
States: 3 (Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado)
Camp: Moraine Park Campground, Rocky Mountain National Park
Long, tough drive. Long stretches with nothing around and no big cities for miles. At one point I was actually worried I was going to run out of gas because it was so long between stations.
Stopped early at the Window on the Plains Museum in Dumas, TX. Nice little place with a friendly staff and some fun exhibits, including tons of antique cameras, a blacksmith’s shop, a barbed wire exhibit, and a number of weapons from various wars (including a bazooka!).
Saw my first tumbleweeds and dust devils of the trip. At one point there were huge dust devils kicking up on both sides of the road. They were so big I could see them from a mile away.
Near Prowers County I came across an abandoned structure and stopped for a few photos. I was a bit wary that I may stumble upon a rattlesnake or some other creature looking to take me down, but mostly I was just swarmed by grasshoppers.
Not too long after that, I was pulled over for speeding. Total bummer. I can’t really complain though. He had me dead to rights and I was really cruising. Fortunately tickets for out of state drivers don’t impact insurance costs or license points in the home state. Thank goodness for that.
I arrived in Estes Park around 7PM, just as the sun was setting. This meant I was treated to some fantastic views of the mountains as I drove up. I knew they were going to be impressive, but I wasn’t fully prepared for how amazing the mountains were. They just kept rising and rising as I neared the park.
I camped in Moraine Park, because it was one of the few campgrounds with walk-up availability. Apparently I should have thought ahead and made my reservations earlier. Go figure.
I set up my tent, had a nice dinner, sat and played guitar under the stars for a while, and then took some photos of the starry sky. It was pretty incredible. I even saw a couple of shooting stars. With the flaps on my tent down and the rainfly off, I was able to see the stars as I fell asleep.