Up early today so that we could get a head start and visit the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado via Estes Park. The weather was great and we were in for a real treat.
Day 145 – July 25th.
After another nights stay with Penny & Fred in their AirBnB place in Loveland we bid our farewells and drove off towards Estes Park. A quick fuel up on the way and soon we found ourselves taking curve after curve as the road mapped the river.
You can still see the remains on the huge flood that was here in 2013 and some unfortunate people have lost their homes.
The scenery was awesome, huge boulders, pine trees and cushing icey water topped off with the sunshine can you imagine.
It’s not long until we drive through Estes park, not stopping apart from a quick loo visit, as we had stopped for dinner here last night.
We keep on going until we get to the entrance to the National Park.
A $20.00 entry fee per vehicle is paid and in we drive, the mountains look imense from the road at the bottom with vast open ranges lining the first part of the park.
The map guides us around and we gradually make our way up the mountain road to a lookout.
Then we continue on up and up the winding road which opens up awesome vista views, the highest point we reach is 12093 feet, which is the highest we have ever been, lucky for us both we feel ok, maybe a little headache comming on, but thats it.
We spot some Chipmunks and a Marmot but no Elk or Moose which would have been nice, but the drive is really worth it, another lookout this time at Horseshoe Park.
Further on up to the Alpine Tundra area, very near the top is where we see the Marmot and some mountain thistles while enjoying the surounding views.
As you can see from the photos even those huge motor homes and fifth wheelers make this trip, later on you’ll see that also the crazy bike enthusiasts love it.
We pass the highest point, then we begin our decent, as soon as we make it to the Visitor centre at 11,796 feet, we are already on the way down the winding road aptly named … which takes us to the bottom somewhat faster than we got up there.
Soon we reach the alpine tree line which is the highest point the trees will grow at 11,000 feet 3500 meters.
At the exit of the park we think we see an Elk, but on walking back all we see is three white bums of what I think are deer. We continue on until we reach Grand Lake where we stop for a lunch break, two very tasty burgers with sweet potato fries restore our energy and on we continue.
In the distance we can see dark clouds forming and sooner than later we are catching the edge of the storm, nothing to nasty and thankfully we leave it behind. We pass through a few small towns as we head towads … which would then get us back on the I70 towards Silverthorne, we pass a burnt out semi on the highway which has emergency fire service and ambulance there, it has blocked both lanes and the backed up traffic goes right back to the entrance to the Eisenhower tunnel, they will have a good few hours delay until that all clears up.
Lucky for us we are heading in the other direction and continue down the highway at high speed many a time just free wheeling at 140Kph. A quick fuel up again before reaching Keystone and the safety of our place, both of us a very tired which I suspect is part mountain air, part altitude sickness, partly the winding seven hour drive.
But we’d both take that and do it all again, if you get the chance drive through the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado over the top of … mt via Estes Park do it, it will not dissapoint.