Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Rocky Mountain National Park

The Stanley Hotel is in the town of Estes Park, right outside the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance.
The hotel inspired Stephen King's book The Shining and Dumb and Dumber was filmed here.

We are sure getting our money's worth out of the annual national park pass. Last weekend we went back to the Rocky Mountain National Park in hopes of catching aspens changing colors for fall.

Aspens just beginning to change

We got a bonus show: it's rutting season and a large herd of elk was roaming around right next to the park loop. The males were posturing and bugling and herding the the females into tight groups. We saw some big-horned sheep off in the meadow, too, they were moving too fast for posturing, we've been told they start ramming into one another and otherwise showing off to impress the ladies in the next month or so.

Nice rack

Big Horn Sheep en route to the rutting grounds

Clouds over Colorado are always interesting

We found a 7-mile road that went to the 12,000' high summit, before long the two-way paved road deteriorated into a dirt road with tight switchbacks, at times a little technical but the Subaru did fine. It was a comfortable 80 degrees at the meadow, 40-something at the top of the mountain, brrr.

Dirt road to the summit, do you see the mountain lion in the rocks?

Taking a picture of an Australian tourist at the summit

It took us quite a while to get to the top on the dirt road, imagine our surprise when we got there and were greeted by several tour buses and a throng of people. Apparently, there's also a very nice paved highway that goes there as well from the other side of the mountain. Not sorry... our way was lots more fun.

View from the top at about 12,000 feet. The snow sticks on the mountaintop warn of stormy days coming soon.