Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I just got back from a  vacation in Estes Park, Colorado for a week with my husband and grown children with spouses. We all had a great time and enjoyed each others company all week. We had rented a house so were glad to have a full kitchen, dishwasher and washer and dryer in the house. The view from the second story deck was fabulous. It overlooked the Big Thompson River. To wake up each morning looking down (and hearing) the river through pine trees was unbelievable.
We drove on Trail Ridge Road. It is the highest paved road in the U.S. The views are breathtaking.. Here are some photos of our trip.
Above is the first sight we saw close to the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a herd of elk. The elk come down from the high country
in the Fall  and spend the winter in Estes Park. Due to the late and heavy snow this year, this heard had not moved to the high country as yet. If you look closely you can see one or two baby elk that still have their spots.
This is the view as you start driving up Trail Ridge Road. At the top is the Alpine Visitor Center with an altitude of 12,000 feet ( I think).

This is the view on the way up from the entrance to the park.The ribbon you see is the road going up the mountain.

The mountains had lots of snow this year. The last storm was the end of May. While Trail Ridge Road usually opens on Memorial Day,it did not open this year until the middle of June. Here is part of a snow drift that was plowed to make access for the road. The people in front give a perspective as to how deep the snow was this year.  There still is a lot of snow to melt and the rivers are already full and moving fast.

This is the view as we rounded one of the curves on the road.

Close to the top of the mountain is the tundra.  This shows the thickness of the tundra which took hundreds is not thousands of years to form. The bottom picture is one of the types of wild flowers on the tundra. There is a path to walk up the mountain and look at the views and the wild flowers. Needless to say it is forbidden to walk on the tundra.

This is one of the views on the way down. Now you know where 'Purple mountains majesty' comes from in" America the Beautiful".

This is one of the mountain meadows. If you looked closely you can see a herd of elk. In all the years I have gone to Estes Park, I have never seen a heard of elk in the mountains.

Here is the view on the way down from the Alpine Center at the top of Trail Ridge Road. Breathtaking.

Here are some of the Lodge-pole Pines that the settlers used to make their homes. These pines grow tall and very straight, hence the reason they were used for walls of houses.

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