Hello everyone, not much activity on the old blog here. Seems like it’s mostly a repository for my travel adventures lately. The good thing is that I have been traveling so here is the report.
There might be better places to spend the winter holidays then the shadows of Rocky Mountain National Park, but right now I can’t think of one. Having never been to Colorado I was unprepared for the impact that seeing the boundless natural beauty in person can have. Pictures donâ€™t really do it justice, although it didnâ€™t stop me from taking as many as I could before my camera froze.
We are visiting my newly minted in-laws who retired to Estes Park in the late 80â€™s. They live about five minutes from the park, and skiving off their senior citizens discount card we have had cheap access to the trails that in the summertime a bit more of challenge. In the winter, trudging up the trails is a bit easier and the scenery is breathtaking.
Christmas day was a bit of a shake out hike around Sprague Lake as the snow had visibility limited. We had a good time making our way though the mountain greenery testing out our variously borrowed and rented equipment.
The day after Christmas (Boxing day for you in the commonwealth), was a gloriously sunny day and we set out for Emerald Lake at the base of Flattop Mountain. The trek up to the lake afforded some spectacular views of rock formations, greenery, and mountain ranges. The entire area was right out of some kind of winter fantasy tale.
The weather was cold but manageable until we got to our destination at Emerald Lake where the wind chill caused our flesh to burn off the bone. I was astonished to find the number of people on the trail, but this area is ground zero for the hiking and camping set so I really shouldnâ€™t have been surprised. On the way back we enjoyed a cheese sandwich with some half frozen water as we gazed upon Longâ€™s Peak, a 14,000 foot trophy climb that tempts elevation freaks from around the world.
Thursday was host to a snow storm that had us inside most of the day but we did manage a walk around the neighborhood and trip into the quaint town center of Estes Park which is largely a ghost town this time of year, but we found a nice bar with some entertainment where we spent a pleasant evening.
Today the weather is a bit on the chilly side so we are not hiking, a trip to Boulder is in order today to see some family and eat at Dawnâ€™s favorite Ethiopian restaurant.
As always, pics below the fold.
Mom and Dad’s backyard.
Dawn and I in downtown Estes Park in front of the historic Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for the hotel in Stephen Kings “The Shining”
In my snow shoeing gear on the trail for a shakeout hike.
Dawn and her parents on the trail at Sprague Lake.
Dawn and I looking all outdoorsey.
Taking a break along a frozen stream.
At the Bear Lake trail head.
Some things need to be seen in person, this is one of them. An awe inspiring sight.
Dawn posing in front of Longs peak.
Mom and Dad on the trail to Emerald lake.
Another impressive vista from the canyon.
Heading up the canyon to Emerald lake.
Wearing these jeans instead of fancy outdoor gear makes me look like I have a load in my pants.
Manged to snap one quick pic of Dawn at a very frozen Emerald lake before the wind chill burned the skin off my bones.
This is where God lives …
Longs peak … one of the “14′ers” in the RMN. I’m going to climb this sucker one day. Ryan, are you jealous yet?