Elk Crossing

Day 4 of the Colorado adventure: we have gotten up early and are among a line of cars waiting to get into the Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Heading into the park, ready for adventure.

Not five minutes into the park we have our first Elk spotting. We really weren’t expecting to see any as they are usually not out during the day.

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Ohh look, Elk!

Nobody bothered to tell the elk that they weren’t supposed to be out. We ended up stuck as dozens of elk made their way across the road.

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A lot of Elk…

We got to the trail head and had a little warm up hike around Bear lake. A Rocky Mountain trail that is wheel chair accessible.

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Bear lake, not to be confused with Beer lake.

The next stop on our tour of lakes is Nymph lake. I’m pretty sure this is where the Lady of the Lake present Excalibur to Arthur King of the Britons.

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Nymph lake. This would have been a nice photo if I hadn’t fat-fingered it.

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The only place to get signal.

Next is Dream lake. If you pay close attention to the mountain in the distance it will be in more photos and keep getting bigger.

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Dream lake

The trail terminated at Emerald Lake. A good place to take a rest before turning around and going past all those lovely lakes again.

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Emerald lake

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If you look closely you can see some snow.

After getting back to the trail head it was time to hike down the mountain to our next objective.

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Trees; they don’t have those back home.

Alberta falls. This time of year a tiny stream, probably a lot more violent when the snows are in full melt.

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Someone should help Alberta up.

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Time for a Selfie! Still haven’t shaved.

After a long day of hiking we headed back in Estes to check out the town and grab some grub.

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Better pizza than Seattle, vacation is already worth it.

Rising on the third day

On the third day of our trip we left Denver and Boulder behind and headed up the Rockies to Estes Park on the edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Heading to the Mountains

The morning hike was up the Rattlesnake Gulch trail to see the continental divide.

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I wonder why they call them ‘the Rockies’?

Rattlesnake Gulch was a cake walk compared to hiking up the flat irons.

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A flat trail is a welcome change of pace.

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We found out hotel, they weren’t kidding about the sky lights.

Crags Hotel, a hotel halfway up the mountain that had been very popular in the 1920’s as a swinging getaway. Unfortunately it burned down and no one though to rebuild. Oddly enough, this fireplace was all that survived the flames.

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A selfie at the Crags Hotel.

We (apparently) found the continental divide. Water on the right side of the panorama will drain into the Mississippi River, while water on the left side is destined for the Colorado.

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The Great Continental Divide!

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Don’t Jump!

On the way back in the distance we spotted a train tunnel that could have been right out of a Chuck Jones animation. As we drew closer we were lucky enough to see a very long cargo train go by.

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We found a train, no Wiley Coyote in sight.

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Looking forward and back I am surrounded by derps.

taking the long route to Estes Park we pass by Barker Reservoir and Nederland.

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Barker Reservoir across from Nederland.

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Our trusty steed.

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Lots of water.

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The right season to be in the forest.

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Words to live by.

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A little church that we found by the road.

Estes is just over the ridge and we stop for a short walk around Lilly ‘Lake’.

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Walking around Lilly Lake the sun decided to join us.

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It would take a few days but we eventually went up there.

Once we arrive in Estes we find that the town is beset by a plague of elk, and even worse a plague of nature photographers looking for the elk.

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Look who we found in Estes.

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A nature photographer, in his natural habitat.

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Chocolate cake for dessert