Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Colorado Trip Part 4-Estes Park and Rocky Mountains

The next installment of our trip report focuses on our last stop in Estes Park. We stayed three nights in Estes which is just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. We stayed at a lovely condo called The Woodlands.

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We had a balcony that overlooked Fall River.

Fall River outside our condo

The first morning we arose bright and early to make the hike to Bear, Nymph, Dream, and Emerald Lakes. We were glad to get an early start because this trail can get very crowded.

sunrise and mist at dawn

Our first stop was Bear Lake which is right next to the parking area.

Bear Lake

We continued hiking along the trail to tranquil Nymph Lake. This was one of my favorite lakes we visited with all the floating lily pads.

Nymph Lake again on way back down trail.

We posed for several pictures along the way. I love being able to get pictures of us together on vacation and a small tripod works great for that.

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The trail was all uphill on the way past the lakes. There were many stairs and that combined with the altitude, left us a bit out of breath.

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Finally we arrived at the second beautiful lake, known as Dream Lake. We stopped for more massive picture taking of the amazing surroundings.

Dream Lake

The final lake along the trail was Emerald Lake. Taking photos as Emerald Lake really made me wish for a wide angle lens and an SLR camera since I couldn't capture fully the beautiful scene with my point and shoot. I know my next camera purchase will be an SLR. I always use the manual settings on my camera as it is and I would like more options and flexibility to take better photos.

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake was the end of that particular trail so we turned around and hiked a few more trails. The altitude and the fact that we were both starting to come down with colds starting to wear on us a bit though. After lunch we decided to drive up Old Fall River Road. This is the old road through the park. It is uphill, one way and unpaved. It was much tamer and smoother than the other roads we had tackled so far though.

Old Fall River Road

The road climbs up through the tundra until you reach the Alpine Visitor Center at 12,000 ft. While it was 75 degrees in Estes Park, it was in the 40s and sleeting at the Visitor Center.

It was 40 degrees and sleeting at the top.

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We joined up with Trail Ridge Road and headed back down to Estes Park, stopping at some of the overlooks for photos.

Great views.

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A large portion of the road is above the treeline where the weather is too cold and harsh for trees to grow. They can get snow drifts as high as 20 feet and it takes six weeks each year to get the road cleared and opened in late spring.

I have one final installment of Colorado photos to share. I took 846 pictures so narrowing them down is tough and I have so many beautiful views to share.

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