I’ve just about lost track of the number of times I’ve been to Denver, CO but it’s somewhere around 15 or 16 times. When I was in college, I went to Denver with the Penn State Livestock Judging Team to judge in the collegiate contest at the National Western Stock Show. Through a college internship with the USDA’s Ag Marketing Service, I went back out to Denver to tour Harper Feedlots (lamb feedlot) and the JBS Lamb Plant. The rest of my trips to Denver were with my role at the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative since Denver is home to our national counterpart, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as well as the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. I only mention this because while I’ve been a frequent visitor to Denver, I’ve NEVER experienced the gem in Denver’s back yard- the Rocky Mountain National Park. Last week, on yet again another trip to Denver, my co-worker (Hey Jen!) and I FINALLY got the chance to visit the mountains! *Note: As it should be, this blog post is heavy on photos and light on text…the photos will speak for themselves.
Our ‘entrance’ into the park took us through Estes Park, CO- a cute little touristy town at the base of the Rockies. We blazed through the actual town or Estes Park since we had the mountains on our mind and we only had one day to explore. The base of the Rocky’s was a beautiful mix of wooded forests and open meadows.
We drove down to the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, near Bear Lake and hiked to Alberta Falls (above). We also saw a few of these little friends at the base of the Rocky’s– the “Steller’s Jay.”
So– we found this fun road on our way back from Bear Lake and thought, heck- 11 miles on a narrow single-lane dirt road that’s only open from July 4th until September to reach 12,000 elevation, let’s do it! We were in a rental car after all and if we wanted to summit a 12,000 foot mountain in a handful of hours, driving was the way to go.
The base of the mountain was sunny and nearly 80 degrees. The summit was overcast, windy and in the low 50s. BURR!! We did make it a priority to run around on the snow and make snowballs- my July is now complete!
I had the strong urge to sing “The hills are alive, with the sound of music”…for obvious reasons.
Ahh- now the trip was REALLY complete– Elk!
Rocky Mountains– we WILL meet again, this 1-day tour was just a tease and I’m anxious to go back and explore more of you!