Thursday, July 30, 2015

PTA VII: Day #7, Wednesday, July 29th...Rocky Mountain National Park

Day #7..."This place is ridiculously beautiful!"  This was Leah's comment nearly one mile into the park.  This is after she was grimacing at the prospect of hiking in the mountains all day.
It was stunning, we knew we had a lot to cover in little time.  Keep in mind the Rocky Mountain National Park is ginormous!  However, we wanted to make sure we hit the big landmarks and sites.  Ironically, we drove right up to the "Old Fall River Road."  It was a road that was 11 miles long, with countless switchbacks and steep grades AND it only goes one way!  It was terrifying to drive, but the majestic beauty that we got to experience was stunning.
This is just a sampling of the very narrow dirt roads that we had to drive up to the top of the mountain.

The road did have a number of pull outs near the switchbacks, where we could stop enjoy the view and take a break.  The kids especially enjoyed the breaks and the short hikes, it was a kids climbing paradise.  

We all really enjoyed the Rockies!  The climbing could go on forever, but there was so much to see!

The water was sparkling, the weather was perfect and we really enjoyed the landscape variations.  
At the top, the kids continued look out to the mountains, to see what else may be hiding out there.  According to Leah's handy journal entries, she noted 30+ animals, including, Moose, Elk, Mule Deer, Squirrels, Marmot, Ground Hogs, Beavers, etc...  

It really was an amazing day, full of stunning sights, which we finished off with a visit to Grand Lake.  Since it was dinner time, but we were not ready to finish our sightseeing, we found a highly recommended sandwich shop:  Cy's Deli.  Ordered some of their specialties and headed back out exploring.  

While the views and the lake were stunning, we decided to start our journey back to Estes Park.  

Here are some additional highlights from our drive back home.  We did make one stop to hike back to the beginning of the Colorado River.  Since we went rafting in it, we figured we should see where it started.  

We also saw a couple of additional animals in the park, on our way out...

Finally, the road didn't become any less forgiving on the way out of the park.  Here is a picture of one of the passes at the top, that we had to drive through.  

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