Yes, folks, another post about Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), one of the most spectacular parks in our very spectacular National Park System. This time I have a story about a hike that started out mild and ended up wild! As usual, this hike took place a couple of weeks ago, on August 9th. We thought some of the summer crowds might be dissipated due to school starting in some areas of the country, so we headed off to the most popular trailhead in the park, Bear Lake, where you can access no less than 10 magnificent hikes. Warning: This is a long post with tons of pics. 🙂
As many of you know, the love of my life, Jerry, has an early August birthday. Well, being here in paradise, the options for celebrating his birthday were absolutely endless. So, when asked what he wanted to do, he said he had read about an annual event the BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado organizes which happened to be on his birthday. It was a fun-filled day of riding, which is reportedly only geographically possible in this part of Colorado, where you ride at least TEN 10,000 foot or higher passes in a single day! Well, if that is what the birthday boy wants to kick off his birthday month, that is what he gets! 🙂
As I have said several times about Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), despite being here in Colorado for THREE months (!), we never tire of the park and all its many incredible features! Today I will tell you about a lovely summit hike (just over 10,000′) that is only 6.9 miles from our campsite, Deer Mountain. I am still trying to catch up the blog; this hike was completed on July 31st.
Just about 4 miles up the road from our campground is the beautiful Lily Lake, just on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). We have been there a number of times during our time in Estes Park, to hike the lake loop, the Lily Ridge Trail, or have a picnic lunch, but I have not written about it since this post early in our stay. Recently, we had heard about several bull moose sightings at Lily Lake, and a bull moose was still on our must-see wildlife list. 🙂 On a recent evening, we took our camp chairs and went on a moose hunt.
As I type this post, in early August, we are beginning to notice hints of fall in the Rockies, although the crowds in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) still scream of summer! 😉 Today I will describe a hike on July 24th, a Tuesday, where we got an early start which allowed a peaceful and uncrowded hike up to Twin Sisters Peak, but then we encountered the masses going up as we headed down in the early afternoon. Yes, it was a long hike!
Due to its high elevation and severe weather conditions, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) has to carefully manage snowfall on the park roads. In this process, they do massive amounts of snow removal, and lately, they are assisted by Mother Nature and the sad fact of climate change, which produces less critical snowpack each year. This year, the crown jewel of RMNP roads, Trail Ridge Road, opened all the way across the park on the Thursday before Memorial Day. But the original road, known as Old Fall River Road, didn’t open to vehicle traffic until June 23rd to accommodate grooming of the gravel.
Since the summer season is in full swing in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, we have been trying other options for hiking to avoid some of the crowds. We have had several recommendations for Kruger Rock, another nearby mountain summit with spectacular views, so last Tuesday, we headed east on US 36 to the Hermit Park Open Space, home of Kruger Rock.
We continue to enjoy our stay in the Rocky Mountains, even more than we could have imagined! We certainly keep busy, between working our camp host or camp store shifts, socializing with co-workers at the campground, checking out Estes Park, hiking, biking, and getting out there to see more of Colorado in our free time.
As usual, I am trying to catch up on sharing the wonderful experiences we have had here in Colorado this summer. On June 23rd, between visits from friends, and exactly a week after Eric & Pam so graciously delivered our motorcycles to us in Estes Park, we decided to break the no riding spell with a doozy! Mount Evans Scenic Byway has long been the highest paved road in North America, at 14,130′, and it is approximately 100 beautiful, curvy, and twisty miles from Estes Park!
Yup, more Trail Ridge Road! Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is so vast and so incredible, and changes with the season, the time of day, the light, the weather, etc., that I will continue to write about it…probably as long as we are here!