Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rocky Mountains National Park

After a late arrival in Denver, we picked up our hire car and crashed at a nearby motel. The next morning we packed up early and headed to the Rocky Mountain National Park. We stopped off for a quick bite in Boulder on the way which was a nice sleepy town (all the students were away).

We had a wander round Estes Park, the resort town where we were staying before heading into the National park for the remainder of the afternoon. We strolled around Bear and Sprague lakes which are both stunning. We caught our first glimpses of park wildlife at Bear lake, I thought it was a chipmunk but it turned out to be a ground squirrel. We did see chipmunks at Sprague Lake though! On the way back out of the park around sunset we added a pair of coyotes to our wildlife spotting tally.

The next morning we were up early to drive along the Trail ridge road, the highest paved continuous highway in the United States. The road peaks at over 3900m and took us over 2 hours to drive from Estes Park to Grand Lake including stops at the Alpine Visitor centre and other viewing points along the way, including one where we could climb on a small snow field.

On the way back we stopped at 'Rock Cut' for a picnic lunch. There were several yellow bellied Marmots lazily grazing just by the road side. Their more sprightly friends the picas were also abundant at this spot. After taking tons of photos we continued back down to catch up on some chores in Estes Park. We decided to head back into the park for sunset again this time entering by a different route. We didn't get to see any Bighorn Sheep, but as we were trundling along we spotted a group of cars pulled up and people with cameras everywhere, always a good sign of wildlife nearby. Lo and behold there was a large herd of Elk grazing right at the edge of the road, not at all concerned by the traffic jam they were causing!

This morning after a quick final tour and a small walk up to Nymph lake we reluctantly drove back to Denver, stopping again at Boulder for lunch. Ready now to go to Texas to see Dave and family.


David said...

Should be working but I just thought I would see how you are getting on.
Looks like you are now well on your way.
While you are in the States you may want to track down a DVD caleed Transsiberian, its a thriller staring Ben Kingsley, Drugs murders etc on the Trans mongolian.
Hope you are both enjoying the journey, I shall be off to Ireland next week for two weeks and back in Korea in October so it was not my final journey.
Good Luck
David webster

Matt said...

Hey Dave,

Will have to check out that film not seen it yet. Glad there were no killings or drugs on our train!!

Will be back in Merseyside some time in November so should meet up for a beer when we get back.

Take it easy in Korea.