Rocky Mountain NP

Is it Fall already?

Is it Fall already?

From Lander, it was off to Rocky Mountain National Park.  We left on Monday after the holiday weekend and were pleasantly surprised with the lack of traffic.  As we rode up route 34 out of Loveland through the Thompson Canyon, the mountains came into view and we knew we had made the right decision about coming to RMNP. We got the last campsite in the park that would fit us, sort of.  As a fellow camper said, “with a little Vaseline”. Our truck wouldn’t even fit at the site and we had to park in the overflow area adding about a mile walk to any of our daily activities. It was worth the inconvenience to be in the park with short drives to the hikes and the beautiful views.

Mills Lake

Mills Lake

The first day, while searching for a more suitable campsite, we happened upon the “hiking hub” on the east side of the park by Bear Lake.  We grabbed a trail map and decided on a 9 mile loop that brought us by several mountain lakes and a waterfall. We started out at Nymph Lake, to Dream Lake, Lake Haiyaha, Mills Lake, Jewel Lake, past Alberta Falls, and back to Bear Lake where we started.  It was beautiful with Lake Haiyaha and Mills Lake being our favorites.

In front of Notchtop Mt

In front of Notchtop Mt

Our campsite was not only tight, but quite unlevel.  We were unable to get the motorcycles off the back, so we decided to do another big hiking loop the next day.  This time we used the shuttle service. We started at the Bear Lake Trailhead again and worked our way back toward the campground via Lake Helene, Odessa Lake, Fern Lake, Fern Falls, and The Pool. The weather was great, as it is every morning.  We learned quickly that in the Rockies you have to do things in the AM because at about 3 o’clock every day the thunderclouds roll in and it rains.  Fortunately, it blows over and the evenings are once again clear. For this hike, we got a later start because Kim was chatty in the bathroom (who does their hair for a hiking day?), so in the afternoon we got caught in some weather.  It was another great 9 mile loop.

Shadow Mt and Granby Lake

Shadow Mt and Lake Granby

Thursday, Chris went on strike.  Hiking was out of the question after over 18 miles the past two days.  We opted for an auto touring day, taking the Old Fall River Road and the Trail Ridge Road to the west side of the park.  We both enjoyed the ride and the rest.  We stopped at several overlooks, took a few short walks to some sights and collected some more firewood in the National Forest outside of Grand Lake and Lake Granby. Rumor had it the area we were in was good for moose sightings.  We headed into the National Forest in search of the elusive moose.  We actually spotted a female in a meadow but she was too far away to get a good picture.  We will keep trying.

Elk soap opera

Elk soap opera

Having seen many in our travels, we thought we were over elk sightings, but this is their mating season.  Hundreds of them frequent the meadows around our campground during the late summer and early fall.  It was amazing listening and watching the bulls try to impress the cows and increase their harems.  In the evenings we would go down to the meadow and watch the soap opera “As the Elk Turns” as the males vied for attention and herded their harems. It was fun to make up dialogue as the cows bleated to bulls in other groups. Occasionally, one would run to join a different group, only to be pursued by her original bull and herded back. We hoped for a clash of males, but never did see one.

We tried to reserve more days in the park campground but the weekend was booked.  Supposedly every weekend is booked and this weekend there is a Scottish Festival in town, so it is busier than normal.  We were lucky to find another campsite in the area at all. Today, Friday, we are moving to an RV Park in town.  We are looking forward to spending more time in the Rockies.

14 Responses to “Rocky Mountain NP”

  1. David Moffitt says:

    Rocky Mountain NP sure looks nice, and it’s hard to believe fall is already in the air.
    I completed my Utah trip with a ferry trip across Lake Powell to visit Monument Valley, where I was able to take a guided tour of the back country. (I kept waiting for John Wayne to appear.) Starting on my journey home I found myself “standing on the corner in Winslow AZ” and passing by the original Wigwam Motel in Holbrook AZ that inspired the one in Cars.
    Ironically, as I write this I am sitting at the picnic table on the porch at the Stillwell RV Park, where we first met. It’s been fun watching your travels, and I hope we can continue to stay in touch with our trips.

    • admin says:

      Hi Dave,

      It is always so good to hear from you. We love reading your commentary on your travels especially with mentions of John Wayne and the Eagles “Take it Easy”. We found ourselves singing along when we were in Winslow as well. The Lake Powell excursion was something we didn’t fit in but sounds like it was interesting, next time… I hope you enjoyed your Utah adventure as much as we did. It is still one of our favorite areas we visited this year. Say hi to Nan if you are still at Stillwell. I continue to use her microwave potato cooker all the time and love it. It’s sad that the year is coming to an end but it will be nice to be with friends and family again. We hope you continue to keep in touch with us after our life is boring:) Hopefully, one day our paths will cross again. Remember if you ever trek to the east coast, you are always welcome at our house.

      Best Wishes,
      Kim and Chris

  2. Jim and Cheryl says:

    Your journey has been incredible. We really enjoy the posts and photos!
    We never did make it to Alaska. Time just got away from us. Take care and enjoy your last few weeks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Jim and Cheryl,

      So good to hear from you guys! Sorry to hear Alaska didn’t work out this time… Hopefully that means that you were busy with great crops! It was really nice chatting with Cheryl and discussing Alaska options. It’s good to know that people other than ourselves and our family are enjoying the blog. It is really hard to believe the adventure is almost over… We will try and make the most of the last few weeks. We are still making it up as we go along but we may be passing through MN on our way home (Chris would love to catch a Vikings fame). Unfortunately, I think you guys are way north of that area… One day our paths will cross again. As I said to Dave, you are always welcome at our house if you venture to the northeast.

      Best Wishes,
      Kim and Chris

  3. Jim and Cheryl says:

    Just a quick FYI – if you get to MN we are straight west of Minneapolis- right along the SD border.

  4. The Nichols says:

    Ok ok…. the Mills Lake photo HAS to be photo shopped! It’s just TOO PERFECT!!!!! You guys are really hiding out in Webster somewhere arent you! I’m calling it now, USA never went to the moon and you guys nnever went on this trip! It’s all just very clever editing and graphic design work! Got to admit it, you had me fooled for 10 months now!

    Seriously, the last few weeks has to be bitter sweet for you. So many miles traveled, so many trails hiked, your my heros! You managed a life times worth of traveling in 10 months and made it all look EASY! Looking so forward to seeing you again when your home.

    By the way, while your in that area check out Leadville Colorado, tons of history there! It’s a funky cool little town.


    • admin says:

      Hey Nichols Clan,

      Scott, you make us laugh. Although we have learned to use photo shop to our advantage, we too are surprised by the ground we have covered.

      As you have pointed out, these last few weeks are bitter sweet. It will be great to be home and reunite with family and friends, but it’s a hard lifestyle to give up. We are going to start playing the lottery seriously when we get back:)

      Looked up Leadville and that will have to be another stop… It is pretty south of where we are and where we are headed. We will put it on the list.

      Looking forward to seeing you as well. Please send our regards to Sue and the girls.

      Kim and Chris

  5. lindsay says:

    yes it is fall already! and that means its almost time for you to come home! YAY…well maybe not for you but for me, i am sick of just hering you on the phone! i like hugs 🙂 and dont worry you still have a bit more site seen to do befor you come home! love ya mom and dad #2

    • admin says:

      Hi Kiddo,

      Looking forward to seeing you as we miss our hugs too:) It is kind of sad to be on the way home but the people we will see when we get there make it worth it:) You can start another countdown… We will be back in just over 3 weeks.

      Love you! XOXOXO

  6. David Moffitt says:

    Hi Chris and Kim,

    Nan got a kick out of reading your posting. (She didn’t believe how famous she was as a major supplier of potato bakers to campers all over the country!) I spent an extra night at Stillwell’s, which allowed me to go down to the park and hike the Pine Canyon trail. The weather had been cooler and wetter than normal causing a nice waterfall at the end of the trail. On my way back I was treated to my first bear sighting in Big Bend– finally after 35 years and numerous trips to the park!
    I got back to San Antonio on Sunday evening and am already “itching” to get on the road again. I can’t imagine what you will be going through when your amazing year comes to an end. I hope you will continue your travels, even if they are in much shorter installments.

    • admin says:

      Hi Dave,

      Glad to hear Nan got a kick out of her claim to fame and that you made it home safely. I have a feeling we will be “itching” very soon as well. I don’t think another yearlong trip will be in our future for quite some time, however we will try and do some traveling in “shorter installments” as you so eloquently put it.

      Wishing you the Best!
      Kim and Chris

  7. The Mommie Unit says:

    I knew I was older than dirt but seeing that school room depicting what it was like in 1868 in Lander Wy. was pretty freaky. Those were the same type desks I sat at when I was in elementary school. I remember we had drills in case a nuclear bomb was dropped. We had to “Duck and Cover”, which meant getting under the desk. As a chubby tall child me and the desk were a pretty tight fit! I hated those drills!!! Beside being squished in the desk the kid in front of me always had the farts you would have though he was a beer drinker, but he was only eight years old and not Irish. I used to get light headed from holding my breathe not to be blown away from the aroma of Alan Goldberg he must have been lactose intolerant poor boy poor me. So there I was terrified that I would get stuck under the desk and blacking out from holding my breath. Even then I questioned authority I asked my teacher what good it would do if a bomb dropped we would all be dead anyway why be uncomfortable. Unfortunately that statement made some of the kids freakout and cry. They thought they would be safe under there desk they probably also voted for Bush as adults!

    Ah memory lane!

    Miss you both

    Stay Well & Happy and Safe and win the lottery you know old people are expensive to take care of especially if they eat all organic and take lots of vitamins.

    Love The Mommie Unit

    • admin says:

      Hi Mom,

      Believe it or not I had the duck and cover drills too. Fortunately, I didn’t have an Alan Goldberg in my class and our desks offered a little more room. I always wondered what the purpose was myself but I didn’t say anything (you know I caused enough trouble back in grade school). Trust me on the lottery thing… I can think of many people who would love to see that reality. However, as I am a realist, I will keep my day job for now while I research discount vitamins and organic outlet stores.

      Love you!

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