Rocky Mountains

Trip Start Jun 27, 2008
Trip End Sep 2008

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Saturday, July 12, 2008

     H & I arrived at the Rocky Mountains after a short detour to Denver to buy a car top storage carrier.  We have too much stuff and even though we got it all in, it was hard to keep organized.  Things like tents, chairs, and lanterns don't need to be in the car all the time.  What's amazing, though, is that packing up again after 3 nights in the Rockies with all that on the top we still had things packed two deep!  We would never had made it West in a Conestoga wagon.
     Arriving in the Rocky Mountain National Park around 5 pm, we took the first campsite that we saw, which was called Aspen Glen.  It was extremely beautiful as you will see from the pictures.  It really only had one flaw--there was no hot water or showers.   That might count as two flaws.  Minor flaws--we stayed 3 nights.  Most of my former staff will be dying when they read this.  They do work for the public health after all.  But it really wasn't that bad.  It is so dry, you don't really have that damp greasy feeling of out east.  Your skin is dry.  Your hair is dry and straight.  I'll make sure there is a picture of me without a hair wash for 5 days. 
   It's the views that you stay for.  I wish I could add more than 5 pictures but you'll see.  We were camping at 7000 feet and putting the tent up that first night was tiring besides being only the 3rd time we had put it up.  Then we had taken someone's camp site and had to carry our tent to the next spot--surprisingly easy to do but still more effort as we had all our stuff in there and that had to be taken out first and carried to the new spot.
     The next morning, we headed out to see what hiking we could do at that elevation.  We were guided to a hike around Bear Lake, .5 miles, than a string of lakes, 3.8 miles, then a water fall, 2 miles.  We felt pretty good with that.  The next day we drove the 50 miles from one end to the other over the Continental divide and to Grand Lake.  We drove to 13,000 feet which is well above the timber line.  One hike was following the Ute and even pre-historic people's path over the tundra.  We followed a group of women who were naming the wild flowers and pointing out stones the Ute used for grinding corn along the way.   Pretty lucky to meet up with them.  Then at the highest point at the Visitor's Center, you could climb to the highest point and look around.  It wasn't far but it was up and it was at 13,000 feet.  There are about a 1,000 hikes a person could do.  Or you could do the car trip around and get out and take pictures which a lot of people do, including us.  It's absolutely unique either way.  We did one more short hike which was into the first tourist or 'dude' ranch in the Rockies.  They described it as primitive but, hey, they had hard walls.
     KO said every American should go to Yellowstone.  She's right but they should also go to Rocky Mountain National Park.  It's also a national treasure.
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