After yesterday’s marathon drive, you could say that today was the first real day of vacation. We took full advantage of it and drove to Rocky Mountain National Park. This is one of the few keystone parks that we had yet to visit. Arriving at Estes Park, the park’s gateway town, we began layering up at the first scenic turnout that we came to. This is a process that continued until the clothes larder was nearly empty. Fortunately, then it was time to reverse the process.
Our main activity was a hike to Chasm Falls. Anne led this hike and took my breath away. The fact that this hike began above 8,000 feet and climbed to above 9,000 feet, might have contributed to my breathlessness. My only altitude training after leaving the 600 feet at Saint Louis, had been the spotty low pressure systems across Kansas. It was the best that I could do. It was an epic hike of less than three miles. Interestingly, it only took slightly longer to go out and up than it took to come back and down. I think that those conversations with upbound hikers might have cost us some time. We were just trying to encourage them to go on and it felt so good going back down.
We saw some wildlife, lots and lots of elk, Bighorn sheep and plenty of birds. No moose though. We heard of a moose sighting and could have acted on it, but Anne wanted to climb. Interestingly, we climbed the Old Fall River Road. It is currently closed to cars. Its upper reaches are still buried under feet of snow.
After this hike, we putzed around the park for another hour, before deciding to stick a fork in it. We stopped in Estes Park and tried to do the tourist thing, but our hearts just weren’t in it anymore. We made it back to Boulder, the motel and a neighboring Colorado University student bar, before calling it a night.