Colorado is one place that tugs at my heart strings. The 300 days of sunshine, majestic snow capped mountains, and family favorite haunts make it a personal trip down memory lane. Whenever I visit Colorado it is also a great time to get caught up with friends and even to chat with proprietors of restaurants that we used to frequent.
If I had to choose a single city in Colorado that I relate to as my mountain getaway, it would be Estes Park. During our time in Colorado, we spend many weekends hiking the trails at the Rocky Mountain National Park. We would finish the day by having a meal and window shop in Estes Park.
In our recent visit, the timing was perfect for us to enjoy Elk Fest. Fall (autumn) is the time of the year when several herds of elk that roam near the city actually perform their mating rituals. They can also be observed in their natural setting at Moraine Park (a meadow strewn with boulders from the last glacier). This naturally coincides with herds of tourists trying to catch a glimpse of the elk herds, myself included. 😉
The city also puts up a fair to celebrate the culture and local crafts. It is a great time to showcase the nature and animal lore of the Rocky Mountain region.
It is a hard choice between lingering around the city versus exploring the immense wilderness that makes up the national park. The trails starting from Bear Lake are the most accessible from the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. A hike at high altitude at all seasons requires some planning to ensure that you do not get dehydrated, be surprised by sudden weather changes, or simply run out of daylight. We dressed to protect ourselves from wind and weather, carried enough water (to prevent dehydration and altitude sickness), and high energy food. This time we even brought our GPS (Global Positioning System) where cell phone signals fail.
For those who venture into the park, get rewarded with breathtaking vistas and mountain lakes that shimmer like jewels. On our recent hike that started from the Bear Lake Trailhead (9,441 feet), we reached Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and finally Emerald Lake that feeds off the Tyndale Glacier. Each lake is different and provides spectacular views of Hallett Peak (12,713 feet). In winter, these same lakes are frozen over and one can actually walk right up to the edge of the glacier at Emerald Lake.
As in times past, we ended our day of hiking physically tired but mentally refreshed. Back along the Front Range, we revisited our old neighborhood and favorite places in Loveland, Fort Collins, Longmont, and Boulder.
Please enjoy this video of our visit to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. I hope you get a sense of the beauty and majesty of these mountains through this video.
When you survey the clear blue skies, purple mountains, expanse of green pines, and the gold flushes of aspens, it is Truly Colorful Colorado!
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎