Sunday, September 1—Rocky Mountain National Park

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I visited Rocky Mountain National Park often, and became fascinated by the large numbers of elk, mule deer, and the occasional bighorn sheep. This is where my love for photographing natural landscapes and wild animals began.  A lot has changed since then…

Consequently, our day today was planned to include driving the Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park all the way to Estes Park, stopping at all the overlooks to view the breathtaking mountain scenery, and, of course, looking for wild animals. Fairview Curve, Milner Pass, and Fall River Pass Overlooks all provided vistas of the mountains, glacial valleys, and hanging lakes.

At the Alpine Visitors Center, we climbed several hundred stairs and walked a steep trail to the crest. Back down at the Visitors Center, we saw another bull elk and his harem in a high valley just below the Visitors Center. As we neared the east gate, traffic became noticeably heavier, and Estes Park was bumper to bumper with Labor Day weekend traffic; we stopped only long enough to buy a sandwich, and began our return back up the mountains. At Rock Cut Overlook we climbed the half mile Tundra Communities Trail to a high promontory where we again saw a bull elk and harem in a high valley, several ptarmigan, and a couple yellow-bellied marmots. On the descent on the west side, we saw the cow moose again, and stopped for a few photographs.

With a couple of hours of daylight left, we drove to Tabernash, Fraser, and Winter Park just south of Grandby so Kay would know a little bit about them and where they were located. Hungry from the short, but high breathtaking walks (literally, as they were near or above 12,000 feet), we stopped at the great City Market grocery store (affiliated with Kroger), and bought salads for dinner.

At the condo as we were eating dinner, we saw a large red fox in the parking lot just outside our window—a great way to end the evening.

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