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Published: September 28th 2019
We decided to get up early and head into Rocky Mountain National Park to 1. See wildlife and 2. Be able to get to the Bear Lake area before all the construction traffic started. So up and out before 7 - that is hard for Donald, especially on vacation. We tried to grab breakfast somewhere but nobody was open. So we grabbed a muffin and yogurt from the gas station and moved on to the park.
We arrived at the Bear Lake parking area around 7:30 and achieved our goal of avoiding the construction and traffic. They were still getting set up. I have to wonder what made them choose this time of year to work on the roads. It is their busy time and seems that their process could be more efficient.
We opted to hike to Nymph Lake and Dream Lake. We could have ventured further, but did not want to exhaust ourselves so early in the day. The winds were extra strong and gusty today. We heard it before we even left the hotel and they were even stronger in the park. The hike to the first lake was pretty much uphill all the way. That
required a few stops. Not so much to rest our legs, but to rest our lungs. This higher elevation makes breathing hard with out adding the hiking element to it. We made it to the first lake and took a rest on a bench next to the water that was just waiting for us. The lake had lily pads all around it and the mountains as the back drop. Beautiful. We got up in time to let another couple enjoy our bench and continue our climb to the next lake - Dream Lake.
Dream Lake was also a sight to behold. This one actually had trout it in, which surprised us since we were at such a high elevation (somewhere around 10,000 + feet). The wind was extra strong making it hard to stand at times. We took a few pics and then decided to head back down. I opted to wear my “Got Oxygen?” shirt today. I had purchased it a few years ago in RMNP and found it while packing for the trip. It was especially appropriate for today and half of the people we met as we headed down agreed. Too bad I didn’t actually have
After making it back down, we stopped briefly at Bear Lake and then got back to our car preparing ourself for the traffic ahead. Many of the hikers we met kept saying “Good Morning” as we met on the trail. Which seemed so odd to me for we had been hiking a couple of hours but when I looked at the clock, it was only 10am. You can accomplish quite a bit when you get up early and it was indeed a good morning.
We headed down the road a bit and came to a stop at the line of cars waiting for their turn in the construction zone. We did not have to wait long before we started moving. We then stopped by Sprague Lake - another beautiful lake and hiked part way around it, watched the trout a bit and got back in the car. We again joined the stopped traffic and had to wait about 30 minutes this time. We did see a couple of elk in the trees during our wait, but not close enough for any pictures. We then made our way back into town for an early lunch. That is one
of the great things about staying in Estes Park. You are so close to the park, it is easy and quick to ga back to town and head back to the park later in the day. And that is just what we planned to do.
After a needed rest and a visit from elk to our hotel, we went back in the park and drove up Old River Trail Road again. We were hoping to see more wildlife on the remote dirt road since it was late in the day. But that did not happen. We slowly made it to the top and exited onto the paved road making our way back down. We did see a large herd of elk sitting out in the tundra and more back down in the valley. But no moose or bear. It was getting dark at that point, so we went back to our room. We worked on getting our bags packed up for tomorrow we head home.
Tomorrow is our last day and really just consists of driving to Denver, returning our rental car and flying back to Atlanta. Not much excitement but we do plan on driving the Peak
to Peak Highway on our way. It has been a good trip and we have seen so many things that it will take a bit to process and get back to the real world. If only traveling could be part of our real world on a regular basis.
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