Rocky Mountain High...and Higher
Aug 29, 2011
|August 22 – 28
The trip to Larry O’s place involved an interesting drive into the hills above Boulder including 3 miles of unpaved and at times corrugated road. The whole van shook so hard that caps on the end of the awning came off.
Larry lives in a great spot amongst the trees and we were greeted by him, the 3 dogs and multitudes of humming birds, woodpeckers and blue jays. The other wildlife in the area, bears, mountain lions and moose did not show up to welcome us.
This area is great for hiking and Larry took us to one of his favourite spots, climbing to the top of a hill with an outlook of a lake and mountain range. Following that we had a private tour of the local towns that boast the most PhD’s and people hiding from the law per capita in the country.
The next day we spent time in Rocky Mountain National Park and concentrated our time in the Bear Lake area. The last time I was here it was snowed in so I could not get too far on the trail and that was summer time. This time the trails were open so we hiked 1.8 miles along the path past 3 mountain lakes before returning to do the half mile loop around Bear Lake. It’s wonderful to sit at the water’s edge at an altitude of 10,000ft and be surrounded by peaks reaching 12,000ft.
We also spent time over a couple of days in Boulder and surrounding areas getting massages, riding bikes, walking through the mall and farmer’s market and staying with another friend, Mary. The hospitality we have been shown on this trip is deeply touching and we appreciate the welcome we have received.
Boulder is another great town that offers entertainment and good facilities for residents and visitors. We spent time at a free outdoor concert that was part of a summer series as well as going to a burlesque show on the closing night of a fringe festival. Best of all was going to a Beatles tribute concert at the remarkable Red Rocks Amphitheatre on the 47th anniversary of The Beatles playing there. Great venue built into huge red monoliths and the best Beatles tribute show I have seen.
One thing that has been hard to get a handle on here in Colorado is the weather. Down in Boulder it has been very hot and difficult to sleep while up the hill at Larry’s it has been about 20F cooler and windy. And in our time in Rocky Mountain it has been a mixture of blue skies and thunderstorms. The threat of thunder & lightning rolling across the mountains is very real and the outlook can change in a minute.
On our last day here we drove into the Park for more sightseeing and to drive the Trail Ridge Road which takes you from one side to the other across the top at altitudes reaching over 12,000ft. Thunder and rain were threatening and it didn’t take long to make their presence felt.
We managed to get to most overlooks on the way up without rain, or with only light sprinkles. This changed as we hit the higher portion and were caught in heavy rain and light hail as we walked a trail. At one point Amy changed her clothes twice into something warmer and then to something drier. At the visitors centre we experienced the heaviest rain since leaving New York. Was it a coincidence that NY was being hit by Hurricane Irene at the same time???
The weather aside it was a marvellous experience to be driving this road into the mountains and see all that lay before us. It made me feel all John Denver inside. And the drive down was just as good going from having clouds below us to being at eye level and then above us, and to being amongst the fir trees again.
The day and our time in Rocky Mountain ended at a campground near some great lakes on the western fringe of the Park. We have not finished with Colorado just yet, only this section. Mark this down as a must see…