We opted to stop at Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo on our way home. It was pretty much the half-way point from our last stop in Colorado.
We’ve been to this park four times now so I didn’t bother to get out the camera. I only took a few photos from my phone. We also only did one hike to The Lighthouse and I’m pretty sure I’ve taken this exact picture of Alan multiple times before:
We are on the road driving home as I write this. I only have a couple photos from the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monumnet left to post.
I did want to share this picture of the weather balloons over the Canyon from our first night. They looked kind of freaky glowing in the sky as the sun was setting:
Here are some leftover tallies as well:
Palo Duro 6
Trip Total: 224
National Parks/Monuments: 14
We are long gone from this state park in Colorado but I don’t have any pictures in my phone to post so I figured this would do!
I watched the bird for quite a while as it gracefully circled over the lake and our campsite. By the time I realized it may be an eagle and called Alan to get the camera, the bird was heading away into the mountains.
We are now in Palo Duro Canyon and I’m pretty sure there aren’t any eagles here!
It has been a little cold in the trailer a few nights on this trip. I brought three quilts but that turned out not to be enough.
One stays in the car and I use it outside in the morning when it is cool. One is on the bed. The “extra” quilt has to go on the bed when it is a particularly cold night – at least for the first couple of hours.
That meant there wasn’t a quilt for Alan to use on the couch when I was already in bed.
So what is a quilter (with a sewing machine, rotary cutter and mat) to do? Buy fabric and make a quilt of course! (Technically, it isn’t a quilt because there are only two layers but we will just ignore that point.)
I had spotted some cute “camping” fabric early in the trip in Grand Junction so I bought some complimentary fabrics along the way and made this strip/quilt-as-you-go/fleece-backed throw. Alan did remark that it was a little short but you have no waste by making the throw the width of the fabric (roughly 40″) by the width of the fleece (maximum 60″).
Now, we have four quilts with us. I’m not sure that will be enough for our trip to Alaska next year.
Another one for our Really? series . . .
This guy was playing the bagpipes on the Tundra Communities Trail off Trail Ridge Road (at 12,000 feet!) We learned later the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival was going on in Estes Park.
The Rocky Mountain NP brochure says that “yellow-bellied marmots are often seen from Trail Ridge Road basking in the sun on rocky outcrops” and that is exactly where we spotted this guy.
Boy, was he fat – supposedly getting ready to hibernate for the winter!
We stopped up the road a bit and got out of the truck and walked back to get these shots. This apparently attracted a bit of attention from other tourists who then stopped in the middle of the road!
For our last day at Rocky Mountain National Park, we finally found a bit of solitude. We chose the less popular trail to Ypsilon Lake in the Mummy Range.
It wasn’t really a beautiful day – cloudy, chilly and a bit damp. But, that meant we only saw one person on the trail out to the Lake! Unfortunately, it also meant that we were freezing by the time we got to the Lake at 10,000+ feet.
We hung around for awhile, had lunch and were rewarded with a bit of sun shining …
As we left the Lake, we hiked up the stream that feeds it. Another 800 feet of climbing over a half-mile would have gotten us to Spectacle Lakes but it was just too cold! It was a beautiful spot, though. Some of the wildflowers were still in bloom. I wish it had been sunny (and I knew anything about taking photos) – I think you could have gotten a great shot!
Our Hiking Guide had suggested this photo at Chipmunk Lake:
Close to the Trailhead, we stopped for this last photo of Longs Peak. I may have to do a retrospective with all the photos I took (or tried to take) of this mountain. It is the highest point in the Park. You can hike it but you have to leave at 1 AM, so that probably isn’t in our future (although I would like to try)!
This is the last of my pictures from Rocky Mountain National Park. I’m writing this as we prepare to leave Denver for nearby Golden, CO (Friday.) We have spent the last four nights at the Cherry Creek State Park. It is a great State Park near the city. I didn’t take any pictures, though! We shopped, hung around camp, went to the gym, sewed two days (or at least I did after Alan spent half of one day adjusting my sewing machine), and went into town to see the Denver Art Museum (which was pretty nice, BTW.)
Miles Hiked: 9
Total Miles Hiked: 215
We took one day of our visit at Rocky Mountain National Park to drive out Trail Ridge Road and stop at the scenic vistas.
It really was beautiful up on the Alpine Tundra.
I wouldn’t call it hiking but we did walk out the Tundra Communities trail. You could tell you were at more than 12,000 feet in elevation.
Did I mention that it was cold, too?
We had a beautiful view of Longs Peak from our campsite and I tried to get a photo of it from this side but the clouds were hampering my efforts!
On our second day of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, we headed out to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead. Even after Labor Day on a Tuesday, the trailhead parking lot was full – at least we knew what to expect on the trail.
We took the trail out past Albert Falls (I actually had to wait in a little line to get a photo of the Falls,) then to Lake Haiyaha, Dream Lake, Nymph Lake and finally we looped around Bear Lake. The crowds thinned out a bit on the spur out to Lake Haiyaha but there were still a lot of people hiking. These trails are the most popular in the Park and are pretty accessible for most people.
We stopped a little off the trail at this pond for a quick snack. The whole of Rocky Mountain National Park is incredibly picturesque.
That is snow (or actually a glacier) in the background at Lake Haiyaha:
Alan waited very patiently as I scrambled over the rocks to take pictures at Lake Haiyaha:
Miles Hiked: 6
Total Miles Hiked: 206
Our first “big” hike in Rocky Mountain National Park was accessible directly from the campground – Fern and Cub Lakes. It was pretty crowded on the trail – including three groups of kids.
When we got to Cub Lake and sat on a rock to take a rest, the ducks, squirrels, and birds all came by to see if we would feed them! This guy was inches from my foot:
Cub Lake was pretty but not as pretty as Fern Lake:
There were several guys fishing and the Lake was generally crowded so we didn’t stick around for long.
The streams are just too beautiful in the Park.
We practically tripped over these grouse on the way back in:
The big news on this hike was that we hit the 200 mile mark!!
Miles Hiked: 11.5
Total Miles Hiked: 200
We have arrived at our final planned National Park/Monument – Rocky Mountain National Park. However, by the time anyone reads this, we will already have left Rocky Mountain for Denver.
We got rained on the first two days we spent in the Park. We took a drive when the rain let up and visited a few overlooks/points of interest. This is an area that was completely flooded when a dam broke in the 80’s:
Unfortunately, with the overcast sky my photos are pretty washed out!
We saw a lot of elk in the Park but I only took a few photos – including these elk heads . . . check out that bull keeping an eye on his herd.
National Parks/Monuments Visited: 13