Rocky Mountains national park

I have a long drive planned on Thursday. It’s more than 12 hours driving to Rocky Mountains national park and I want to see how far I can get. The first few hours are quite boring, since it’s just driving through desert land, but slowly but steadily the mountains are coming back in view and late in the afternoon I’m back in Colorado. I’m quite tired, but push through and about 800 miles / 1300 kilometers and 13 hours after I left Boise in Idaho, I arrive in Estes Park, right next to the Rocky Mountains. I get some groceries and park next to the library in town, a place where I camped many years ago. Officially there is no overnight parking allowed, but I remember from back then that no one checked it, so I think it’s fine. I’m super tired from the long drive, so I sleep quite well in the back of my car.
I wake up around 6am when it starts to get light outside. I clean myself up, get dressed and drive to the entrance of Rocky Mountains national park. It’s not so busy at this time of the day, so I don’t need to wait long. The lady at the entrance tells me that you need a reservation for bear trail road, the road to some of the best hikes. Fortunately I can get one easily on my phone for just $2 when I’ve entered the park. Not much later I drive on that road to a hiking trail where I was in the summer two years ago. The trail looks quite different today now that it is covered with snow and ice. It’s a bit slippery, but not too bad. It’s very beautiful to walk in snow covered mountains. In about an hour I reach the end of the trail at Emerald Lake. In the summer I actually swam in that water, but today the lake is frozen. I sit down and enjoy the view for a while before I hike back down. I notice that I get a bit sunburned, but it’s not too bad. The hike down is a bit harder, because you have to watch out not too slide down. I make it back to the car safely and feel a bit tired, so I decide not too hike too much more today. Instead I just take a slow drive through the park and stop at several viewing points. I see some elk and also two moose. Those you don’t see so often, so I’m glad I got to see them. Despite hoping for it, I don’t see any bears today. In the evening I drive back to Estes Park and have an easy and cheap dinner at Mc Donalds. I don’t feel like driving further and so I park at the library again. I walk through town for a while and then head to bed on time again. I’m very happy that I made it to Rocky Mountains national park after all, it’s very beautiful here.
On Friday I wake up around 6am again. Last night I saw that there is a coffee place just a few minutes away, called Kind Coffee, that opens early. After I get dressed I walk there and it’s a very nice coffee place. Despite it being early, there are already many people at the store. I order a cappuccino and enjoy some peaceful reading time. I think that I’d like to go back into the park one more time before I continue driving. I drive to the entrance and this time there is a longer row of cars. After about 15 minutes waiting in line I’m back in the park and drive to a valley where I hadn’t been yet yesterday. There are some picknick tables, a perfect place for breakfast. I also walk around a bit, enjoying the views of the mountains.
I drive and walk a bit more in the park, get to see some deer from nearby and then drive out of the park again. By now there is a very long line of cars waiting to enter the park. The Rocky Mountains sure are popular.
I drive to the next town called Loveland to visit some outdoor stores. Then I drive to my favorite outdoor store in Denver, Outdoor World. I’m lucky, because they give away free hot dogs and lemonade today, because it’s a holiday, Memorial Day. It’s always fun to visit the store, but this sure makes it even more festive. I find myself a nice flanel in clearance (because I didn’t have so many yet ;-)), something I usually buy when I’m here. Then I drive to another favorite place in Denver that I discovered a few weeks ago, Mango Tree Coffee. Unlike the last time I was here, it’s not too crowded today and I find the same table available where I was sitting last time. Since I haven’t checked my e-mail for two days, I sit down with my laptop to catch up on that and do some writing, the previous blog and this one.

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