Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day 11: Estes Park, CO (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GREG!)

These cute mule deer boys strolled through our campground early our first morning!

Happy birthday to Greg!  After a yummy breakfast of pancakes and bacon, we headed off to RMNP.  We stopped at the visitor’s center to find out what was what and get our souveniers.  The kids are both collecting park pins for their hats, Liza is adding park stickers to her water bottles, and Greg is adding park magnets to the motorhome’s decor!  

Greg looked at the maps and decided on our day.  We took a drive through the park.  RMNP is a high altitude park and one of the oldest parks in the US.  There is a drive that takes you over 12,000 feet in altitude.  There is an additional part that is a dirt road that switchbacks up the mountain.  At the top, there is a visitor’s center.  We stopped a little short of it and took a walk.  Walking at 11,000+ feet is pretty intense.  There is a distinct lack of oxygen.  We all felt it . . . Well, except Gage who hiked farther than the rest of us and ran part of the way back.  
A beautiful drive to 12,000 feet on a dirt, switchback road!

A very popular drive . . . there were so many cars!

Not sure what to make of these snowpoles
We stopped here to take a walk

Approaching the visitor's center at 12,000 feet

Lunch at 12,000 feet!

We had lunch up at the visitor’s center -- which had surprisingly good food.  And, then continued on our drive.  The road goes up a little bit more to 12,200ish and then goes down and down and down.  We saw two groups of Elk -- one of them was lounging in a meadow near the road and the other group was crossing the road.  Lots of cars were stopped taking pictures and one woman leaped from her car and ran towards the elk.  She stopped and looked back at Greg and I (I was sitting on the window of the car, taking pictures) and said, “You don’t think they’ll charge me, do you?”  We said, “You shouldn’t take that chance.”  She backed off and took her pictures from a distance.  Another reminder that many people don’t get that national parks are wild places -- you are responsible for your own safety, people.  It’s not Disneyland and it’s not a zoo!
This is a DON'T picture -- don't run at wild animals to take their picture.  It's a bad idea!

Just chillin' at 12,000 feet

Luckily, these guys were too cool to charge silly tourists!

Again, not feeling these snowpoles!  

What a view!
12 years old at 12,000 feet!

Highest we've been yet!

As you can see from the pictures, the drive was fantastic.  These mountains are truly impressive.  We were tired from the time spent at high altitude and came back to camp and had our afternoon, kicking back with drinks by the creek . . . Oh, and naps!  We were treated to several elk coming to snack on the willows across the creek from us.  We had a great dinner for Greg’s birthday.  Pretty great way to spend the day!
Across the creek from our campsite.  We also saw a male Elk, two female Elk and a baby!  Oh, and a black-tailed weasel!  At our campsite!


  1. Love the campsite view. Saw the photo on Flickr. (Isn't showing here at the moment)

  2. Thanks, Gwendolen. I think I've figured out the photo thing . . . I'm having to upload the photos I want to include in the blog to Picasa as well as backing up all my photos to Flickr. If these companies would just play nice with each other and think about the users, my life would be easier! Just sayin'!