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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Rocky Mountain National Park

Back from my week away in Rocky Mountain National Park. My husband and I took a short vacation to the western side. We stayed in the town of Granby about a 20 minute drive from Kawunechee Visitor Center. We were able to get into the park fairly early every day so we saw quite a bit of animal activity including:

  • A cow moose and her calf.
  • Two harems with bugling elk
  • Random elk herds, grazing
  • Pikas and marmots
  • Coyote scampering through the marmot area
  • Deer

On day one we hiked and got caught in the rain. Fortunately, we had rain gear with us.

On day two, we hiked the Tundra trail which is where we saw the marmots and pikas.

On day three we  hiked out along the Tombstone Ridge/Ute Trail, a trail above treeline, and had to turn back because of an incoming thunderstorm. Only it didn't bring rain, it brought sleet. We made it back to the car about 5 minutes before it started to precipitate. We were hauling as we hiked, stopping for nothing, not even to take a picture of a blooming Rydbergia which blooms only after setting roots, stems and leaves for 20 years. 

I saw it, though. 

The incoming weather must have been severe as it closed down the Alpine visitor center at the top of Trail Ridge Road, the highest visitor center in the National Park system and close to the Tombstone Ridge Trail. As we drove back down the mountain, the weather quickly turned and remained lovely. It was so nice we stopped for lunch in Grand Lake and then spent a happy hour doing some window shopping.

I took lots of flower photos, most of which came out well, and lots of scenery photos most of which did not. Rather, they came out but there is only so much you can do photography wise with a phone. After a lot of discussion and soul searching on my part, we decided to invest in a camera with a wide lens and optical zoom.

Why the soul searching? I have made it a point to use only my phone camera to prove that you don't need expensive equipment to have the explorer's eye. The things most of us have at hand will do. But I'm now reconsidering that the phone alone may not always be enough.