Rocky Mountain Part II- Top of the World

We moved to the East side of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), the side we first came in through but couldn’t find an open campground in. It is a more crowded and touristic part of the park but has also a lot of trails and different views to experience. We based ourselves for 3 nights at the Moraine campground. The first day we got there Sylvie was feeling sick (altitude sickness may be?) and a storm came through- a pretty strong one, a tourist even got struck by lightning- so we just hung out.

RMNP is set in the Southern Rockies and could be just as well called “top of the world”. It has the highest major highway in North America, Trail Ridge Road (remember the white-knuckle foggy drive?),  that tops out at 12,183 ft (3713 metres) and nearly one third of the park is above treeline-11,400 ft (3474 metres)-which we certainly felt in our hikes over the next couple of days.

Here are some pictures of the hikes we did, a 10-mile loop and a few others small day hikes.image image image image image image image image

After hiking all day, the only option to shower was to find an isolated creek to skinny dip in (we kept forgetting to fill the sun shower). We found one near Sprague Lake (Glacier Creek).imageSprague Lake

imageSylvie taking a refreshing bath in Glacier Creek!

Trail Ridge Road pictures including wildlife on a sunny day this time!!image image image image image image image image image

Poor old van huffing and wheezing its way up Old Fall River Roadimage

While RNMP is beautiful, we never got the feeling it was truly wild. Despite abundant deer-family wildlife (deer, moose, & elk), it felt over-managed, manicured, and it is lacking in predatory animals (there are only 20 to 24 black bears left in the entire park – the lowest density of any national park). May be you have to backcountry hike/camp to experience the wilder side in the park. So we are now on our way to the Grand Tetons/Yellowstone NP (which will be our second visit) and are currently cleaning, re-stocking, resting etc in a small town of Wyoming named Riverton. We found a little A/C heaven casino hotel (it’s 100F/38 C) to spend a couple nights in. We are not gamblers but appreciate the casino hotel deals! imageimage

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11 Responses to Rocky Mountain Part II- Top of the World

  1. Heather says:

    Looks like you guys went on some beautiful hikes! Love the animal pics!

  2. Terrea says:

    Wonderful pics as usual…you both look a bit winded on those hiking trails. The one of Sylvie crossing the bridge over the stream is lovely! I like the woodpecker too. Some of the mountaintops look volcanic….is that possible?

  3. Wayne and Kathy godare says:

    Amazing photos and to be able to live this wonderful journey through you guys leaves me wishing, if only I we could do something as wonderful. Although your journey is still in its infancy, you have already shown dedication to keeping all of your fans in the know. We are blessed to be called one set of those “friends”. Lucky us. Continued safe passages. Cheers.

  4. Lawton Bennett says:

    Again, a group of breathtaking pictures. Keep it up! LB

  5. Annie Howell says:

    Thanks for more fab photos! I’m surprised it is so hot at such an altitude! Pretty ferocious ground squirrels (marmots?) …. somebody’s got to do it if there aren’t other predators. We appreciate the updates & photos, it must take a lot of energy at the end of a day to do this. Continue those safe travels and adventures!

  6. Kaz says:

    Awesome guys! You’re living our dreams LOL. Hopefully you get this message before you leave Yellowstone. If you haven’t been there before, stay at Indian Creek campground, which is on the northwest end of Yellowstone NP. Those sites are slightly more secluded than most we’ve seen. We’ve visited YNP many times and driven through all their campsites to see which ones we’d like. If you head to Glacier NP (stunning views), stay at the Rising Sun campground. Showers are located behind the general store nearby. Buy tokens from the general store. It’s on the east entrance. There’s less mosquitoes here than on the west side, or even St. Mary’s just a few miles down the road. If you hit Olympic NP, be prepared to drive a lot. At ONP, visit Hurricane Ridge and do the little hike to the hill above it. You’ll see a stunning view of the visitor center with the snow capped mountain range behind it. This is the closest thing to Alaskan mountain ranges you will come if you haven’t been to Alaska in June before. If you’re lucky, you can take a picture with a deer in front and mountains in the background. Camp at the beach campsite (Kalaloch Campground). Beautiful trees you will find. For all these campsites, arrive by 10 AM or so to find a site. They will fill up fast. But I’m sure you already know this. Also, for astronomical events in case you might be interested, don’t forget Perseids meteor shower in mid August. If you’re camping then, it’s perfect to spot it in the dark skies. The moon should be disappearing after 11 PM or so. Don’t miss it! Comet ISON may be potentionally as bright as the moon (as in comet of a lifetime/century), NASA hopes, in winter 2013. And finally, solar maximum is predicted for late 2013, so keep a look out for the Aurora Borealis if you’re in the far northern hemisphere this winter/spring.

    • speters14 says:

      Thanks for all the tips, regarding Yellowstone we didn’t hit the Indian Creek area at all and focused more on the lamar valley. We will have to try it next time.

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