Sunday, October 12, 2014

Colorado - Day 2 - Estes Park

NATURE DAY (and our actual wedding anniversary)!
Set out for some hiking and sightseeing in the Rocky Mountains.  

In between Boulder and the park is the town of Lyons.  (We noticed a lot of damage/construction along the way realized it was from the 2013 100-year rain/1000-year flood.) We stopped for some breakfast at the Barking Dog Cafe.  It was like a movie set with the sheriff and some locals at a few community tables.  

We hit the road to travel up into the clouds toward Estes Park, the center for Rocky Mountain National Park.  I wasn't expecting a big town with a supermarket and fast food joints and stuff.  Also, the Visitor Center is there, where we stopped to get some maps and advice since it looked rather stormy up in the mountains.  They suggested we hike first and drive later which was thankfully the better idea.  

Our Aunt recommended a hike to Ouzel Falls.  This was the best hike I have ever been on.  I didn't look up any of the facts and in a way, it was good not knowing how long it was or any basic information except that there would be waterfalls (which I required to see).  

After completion, I saw it was 5.4 miles roundtrip and an elevation of 8500 feet.  The real issue I had was dealing with the rain.  I HATE being wet but it made for a challenge and I fought through it.  Oh, before we started, we were told the bridge at the top was washed out so the viewing was a bit limited.  Still worth it though!  
By the time we were finishing, the rain stopped and the sun came out, clearing the way for our drive up to the tundra (literally, it is a tundra at the highest spots).  We zig-zagged up into the sky and reached the top of the mountains (elevation of about 12,000!) along the Continental Divide on the famous Trail Ridge Road.  It's only open a few months because once it snows, it cannot be cleared.  We got out at the viewing points and it was freezing and hard to breathe but unlike anything I've seen before.  

This is what the top of the Rockies looks like form the top of the Rockies. 

And on our drive home, we got a little lost but we turned a corner and there was a double rainbow just waiting for us to find it.  Rainbows are something we've seen on our past two anniversary trips but didn't expect to see this time.  Happy two years of marriage!  

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