LOCATION: Near Loveland, Colorado
CAMPGROUND: Another night at Carter Lake
WEATHER: Perfect. High 75 (50s in mountains). Low 50
We drove through the back roads toward Estes Park, the east entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, passing fabulous mountain homes and horse ranches.
I had griped and groaned about the process for “timed-entry” limited tickets to the park, but it really makes a difference – no line to get in and not crowded like what we have experienced in Yellowstone and Glacier.
We immediately started ascending. There are lots of places to stop and hike – some easy strolls as well as serious hiking trails. Our first stop was called Hidden Valley. It was good to stretch our legs.
The scenery is so dramatic. It didn’t take long to start spotting a lot of snow – some glacier left over from previous years, and some fresh stuff from last week.
Notice how there is no shoulder! That is a steep drop-off!
As we got higher and higher, we lost the trees and were above the tree line. The highest point we traveled was 12,200 elevation. We stopped here at the highest visitor center
It is a bit hazy from the smoke from a forest fire in Wyoming. The ranger said that part of the highway was closed last week due to the fire.
Then, we started descending. We went through a lot of hairpin curves. George drove (thank goodness!) This was a narrow, interesting cut called Rock Cut in the mountain…
We stopped at another little trailhead and had a picnic and another walk. This is the headwaters of the Colorado River. From there, the highway follows the river.
On the western side of the park, we started seeing beautiful autumn foliage.
We stopped at a town on the western entrance to the park. Lovely, tourist village. This is the view from one of the old hotels above the town
Then, we had to retrace our steps – ascend back to the 12,200 point, and then down again. I did a lot of gasping….
Whew! We made it. I had to get out and stretch as my body was stiff as a board from being so tensed up during the drive!
We stopped at Estes Park at one of their breweries – Rock Cut – named after the cut we drove under in the Park. George could relax as I would drive the rest of the way. He tried their black Imperial IPA. Good, he reports!
Then, on our way home, we stopped in cute Loveland, home of 10+ breweries, including the famous Rock Bottom original one. We stopped at a small mom-and-pop one and George had an unusual but very tasty Chipotle Porter.
Colorado takes Covid-19 precautions seriously…
What a nice, but long day!
DINNER: I had George saute on the propane grill some bay scallops with diced onion and garlic. I made some rice as a side as well as some stir-fried broccoli and mushrooms. Very nice!