We made our way from Salt Lake City to Colorado stopping at a campground for one night called Dumont Lake/Rabbit Ears Pass situated near Steamboat Springs at 9600 ft elevation (~3000 metres)!! It was gorgeous with wildflowers everywhere but also full of mosquitos.
We went through Dinosaur National Monument in both Utah/Colorado which had incredible views and visited the fossil bone quarry where you can actually touch dinosaur bones.
We had a nice campground by the river, full of birds and a pesty chipmunk looking for a handout.
We hiked around and visited Josie Basset’s homestead established in 1914. Then, we were finally on our way to Rocky Mountain National Park approaching through the East entrance, Estes Park. By the time we got to the entrance around 4:30pm though, there was a pretty strong storm coming through and all the campgrounds were full!! Our 2 options were either to get back out of the park and try to find a campground or drive the famous trail ridge road – 48 miles of white- knuckle steep narrow road and now foggy & rainy- to get to the West side of the park and maybe get a campsite there. So we decided to drive that road and stressed the whole way as you couldn’t see 20 feet in front of you and we were at elevations near 13,000 ft (3962 metres)! Poor old Toyota van: we didn’t know if she was going to make it! In fact, the check engine light has been on since that drive. We reached the Timber Creek campground on the West side of the park (it sits next to the Colorado River) and were so relieved to find that they had spots opened.
Over the next few days, we spent our time hiking and cruising the main West park road looking for wildlife. The weather has been good with temperatures in the 80’s during the day, occasional thunder showers in the afternoon. The trees have been decimated by the bark beetles although now in slow recovery, but the park is teeming with wildlife, especially elk and moose. We had an elk herd come through our campground and we have been seeing moose every day.
Over the last few weeks, our van has gotten pretty messy. The picture below illustrates its current state (you were right Gene).