Monday, August 22, 2011

Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park

First, a little back story....

One of my summers up in Denali National Park, I worked at the Visitors Center (shout out to LoMo!) where tourists would purchase bus tickets and campground spots.  It would frustrate me to no end when someone would come up to my window and not know anything about Denali and how to access the park.  They saved their entire life to come to Alaska, did no research and got pissy when they found out the shuttles were full or not available for the one day they had in Denali (Seriously?  One day?).  To fully explain access to the park, it took about 20 minutes.  Now, add a long line of folks, and it's no wonder that I didn't fulfill my work contract that summer and quit.  Not to worry...I landed a job with a flightseeing company and found a cute trailer to live in near Healy.

Now, I am that tourist (kind of).  We arrived on Friday evening to Estes Park.

1.  Gorgeous. 
2.  Rocky Mountain National Park is right here.  Hmph.  Should have consulted a map.
3.  I did no research because I thought we were just coming here for a wedding.  Silly me.

We picked up tons of brochures, pored over them for the best hikes to do, asked around at the local pizza joint, and finally visited one of the five visitor centers on this side of the park.  Twenty dollars later, we were in the park, huffing and puffing up to three lakes with an 1,100 feet elevation gain.  Worth the gasping (just me), many rest stops, and a lot of water.

Nymph Lake

Dream Lake

Emerald Lake
All of the lakes had huge mountains above them, and Dream Lake was filled with greenback cutthroat.  Leader-shy and savvy, they ignored the fisherman and cruised the shallows giggling, I am sure.  Emil and I caught some caddis, ants and grasshoppers to feed the fish.  They came right up to them, and we watched them snack away.

At our campground, a group of 24 elk wandered through and nibbled on the trees and bushes.  Ground squirrels, rabbits, mule deer, and birds are abundant everywhere.

The sun is blazing, and the sky is blue.  Time to explore downtown Estes Park and play a round of mini golf before heading west.

Bonus:  Questions/comments to me while working at the Visitors Center

1.  Give me two tickets to the top of the mountain.  (Denali)
2.  My bus trip was ruined by a crying baby.  Babies aren't natural!
3.  So, the shuttle takes six hours.  If it leaves at noon, what time will I be back here?
4.  How long is the eight hour shuttle trip to Eielson?
5.  What time do you let the animals out of the cages?
6.  Can I take a plane and land on top of Denali?

No comments:

Post a Comment