Sunday (July 20)
The seven of us got an early start and drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Kawuneeche Valley is prime moose-spotting territory in RMNP and we weren’t disappointed. We watched two females strolling and eating near the Beaver Ponds. I would have liked a longer lens (or a closer moose), but thoroughly enjoyed observing them.
At the Alpine Visitors Center, we climbed stairs to a viewpoint at 12,000’ and then took a short hike on the Ute Trail. Wow, what views! As we continued our drive on Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved through road in the United States, we got lucky and spotted a dozen or more elk near an overlook.
It was a bit windy at the top, so we drove down over the pass and ate lunch near West Horseshoe Park on a rock overlooking a meadow. It was at least twenty degrees warmer than at the top. We continued on to Estes Park and spent a leisurely afternoon in this tourist town. I enjoyed iced tea lemonade with Karen and Anne sitting near the stream that runs through town.
When our hotel rooms were ready, we took quick showers, and then enjoyed an early dinner at the Rock Inn – hearty portions of decent food and a nice local musician. The place filled up. At dusk we drove back through the east end of the park hoping to spot Big Horn Sheep or other wildlife, but spotted only one deer.
Monday (July 21)
I said my farewells to everyone. Lynne and Debbie are taking three days to drive home, Karen is continuing on to Wyoming, and the others are driving to Denver and flying to San Francisco today. Nancy drove up from Fort Collins to pick me up. She brought Dave with her, a family friend visiting from Tennessee. (Dave met Nancy’s husband, Steve, when the two of them were in medical school). We took a long leisurely drive back to her home.
Our wildlife spotting in RMNP wasn’t as spectacular as yesterday – one marmot and a couple distant moose disappearing into the brush. We ate lunch at a picnic table near Shadow Mountain Lake then drove north and through Poudre Canyon to reach Fort Collins.