Rocky Mountain National Park

Trip Start May 11, 2012
Trip End Jun 08, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Monday, May 28, 2012

5/28/12 – We woke up this morning to clear sunny skies and 34 degrees. A beautiful day. And I am thinking, this has to be the last cold day of this trip. Tomorrow we are going to be down from the mountains. I must add, however, that 34 degrees in Colorado is not nearly as cold as 50 degrees in Florida. Seems like what they say about dry heat not being as hot as humid heat is also true about the cold. A dry cold is not nearly as cold as a humid cold, which cuts right through you to the bone. The only time we were really chilled is when the wind was blowing. But we muscled through with only genes and light sweatshirts.

So we begin the day watching a colorful air balloon up in the sky over our hotel, before loading up the car and heading for Rocky Mountain National Park. The road curved through mountain passages lined with dense areas of tall dark green pine trees. Sometimes they towered over us as we drove by. At lower elevations, they were joined by the pale yellow-green leaves of the  birch trees, that are only getting their foliage for  this season…a dramatic contrast in colors.  We saw mountains covered with trees and we saw valleys, flat  floors were green grass grows and cattle graze and rivers and streams weave their way through crooked grooves in the ground. And the cattle are winterized with furry heads and thick winter coats. And off in the distance, to fill the picture are snow-topped mountains…with dense patches where the winter has yet to melt away, and light patches of freshly fallen snow. Occasionally we saw a house perched precariously on a hillside…someone's heaven here on earth.

We turned a curve and we were suddenly in a red rock canyon…undulating walls of jagged copper colored stone, rising high above us, following us along this winding mountain road. And the roadsides were covered with fallen rocks, reminding us that the earth is constantly changing in form and substance. And we followed the railroad tracks, or they followed us, through hills and canyons and over rivers, sometimes below us, sometimes above, reaching to find the centers of commerce or the mines, or the oil tanks.

As we worked our way up into the park, the views were incredible. And we rose up to 12,000 feet and the temperature was 32 and the wind whaled at a high speed, and the turnoffs were crowded with cameras and onlookers, filling their day with the glory that is the Rockies.

And on our way down, we were drawn to a group of people looking into a meadow and there, dining on grass and bushes, were 3 large elk…one was not 10 feet from me when I snapped his picture. And he ate on, as if there was no one there.

We checked into our hotel in Denver at 3 PM and 70 degrees, and prepared for the next few days on the road. Raleigh is in our sights, and we have presents and souvenirs for everyone…and Danielle waits anxiously to see what Memere and Pepere brought from their travels.
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noelle on

Love the elk pic! See you soon!

Judy and Ike on

Thoroughly enjoyed your vivid descriptions and prolific writing. Can't wait to hear more in person. Enjoy the rest!!

Art on

RMNP is another one that I would like to visit and hike in. It must be beautiful.

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