|We woke up to sunshine. We haven’t seen much of that the last 2 weeks. It looks like a great day to go to Rocky Mountain National Park. We set off to drive the 30 miles to Estes Park which is right outside the park. It was an uphill drive going back and forth along a mountain stream. I let Carolyn drive because she gets an upset stomach when she is riding on roads like this. By the time we got there, it was all cloudy again, no sunshine. We wouldn’t see the sunshine again until we headed down the hill to Loveland. Oh well, we are here, so let’s enjoy it. As we headed through the park, it started to rain. Yippee. Well, I guess this will be a driving tour. One of the first places we stopped at was Bear Lake. As you can see from the pictures, it was snowing when we got there. We decided to take a little walk anyway. The lake is still covered with ice and snow. The trail signs that are normally 4-5 feet above the ground are a foot below the snow. We did go down one of the trails for a while, but with the temperature at 32, we headed back to the truck. It was pretty with all the snow and we are glad we got out on the trail.
We figured it was time for lunch so we stopped and got out our 26 year old backpacking stove to heat up water for soup and hot chocolate. Boy was it good. It warmed us up and we were ready for a hike around Sprague Lake. At least this one was thawed out. They have cut down many of the trees because the Pine Beetle has been killing them off. It has been dry for years so the trees don’t have the sap they need to protect themselves. The forest really looks bad - worse than the forests in Arizona.
We did take the trip up Trail Ridge Road which they’re still clearing the road of snow and it was closed at about the 10,000 foot level. The highest point on the road is 12, 183’. We did walk up the road a little. You can see that the snow is over our heads. The Clarks Nutcracker and chipmunks were out and begging for food. We didn’t stay long as it was getting windy and colder up there.
We had seen a few deer and elk as we were driving through, but we finally came across some good sized groups. The bulls were gathered together. Their antlers are still in velvet. We ended up seeing 19 deer and about 40 elk.
By this time, it is about 4:30 and time to head down the hill to Loveland. We took a different route home and passed by Carter Lake. We did find a decent campground there. There are lakes all over the place here. I didn’t realize that Colorado was like this. The west half of the state has all the mountains and the east half has rolling hills that is mostly farm ground with lakes dotting the landscape all over the place. We talked to a camper that is having a house built here. He said the temps are nice in the summer, low humidity and vey few mosquitoes. Sounds good to me. It gives us a reason to come back.