Is it just me, or is it a little disorienting to come home after even a very abbreviated vacation? I had the most picture perfect, beautiful fall day at the Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday. It was one of my high points (literally in this photo!) during my semi-long weekend in Estes Park, Colorado. Of course you probably already know it is the centennial anniversary of the National Parks in the US this year, though RMNP celebrated their centennial in 2015.
We happened to visit on one of their free entrance weeks, so the park was quite busy. They obviously did a lot of planning and coordinating, so despite a massive influx of park visitors things ran quite smoothly. They have a wonderful shuttle system which cuts down on park traffic as visitors are expected (and during the busiest part of the day) park their cars in special lots and then hop on one of the many shuttles.
The weather was absolutely perfect. It is crisp and cool in the mornings, when the sun comes out it warms up nicely without being overly hot and there was no humidity. I could sit in the sunshine and bask and read and enjoy the view. In the evening it would cool down once again. I was happy I brought long sleeves and a nice light fleecy jacket as I did a lot of peeling off of layers over the course of the day. Sadly I left Estes yesterday morning with their wonderful fall weather and arrived back in Omaha to summer--storms, humidity, heat, and oh, did I mention humidity? I am beginning to despair it ever changing seasons here (it will make a great leap from summer to winter). I optimistically set out long sleeves to wear to work, but then reassess when I see the forecast and opt for a light tee-shirt instead.
But you want to see pictures, right, and not hear me moan about the weather. I promise not to bore you too much with vacation photos, but I seem to have taken quite a few so I will divide them up into two posts (and another to share my weaving later in the week).
My newest RMNP discovery (there are so many trails to explore there and at the end of each one is a gorgeous lake or waterfall) is Nymph Lake. It is an easy trail to hike and a relatively quick one to get to.
The photo at the very top is taken overlooking Nymph Lake, which you can get to via this path. It is possible to continue on to Dream Lake, but as my mom and sister were waiting for me (we split up and planned to meet back after an hour or so), I had to curb my enthusiasm. I think I am more interested in hiking than the rest of my family, but I was pleased to see something new anyway.
We spent most of the day at Sprague Lake, which was last year's great find. It's just a very peaceful place to relax. It sits next to a campground and picnic area (we brought our own picnic and spent the rest of the afternoon there). Lots of people were fishing, which must have been a great draw in the 1920s when there was a lodge located there. It catered to guests who wanted a rustic vacation in the mountain and a place to fish for trout. I especially like the last photo that shows the puffy clouds in the pristine surface.
I actually saw a bit of wildlife this time around, though I only managed to take a very few photos. The doe we spotted at Sprague Lake happily munching away and not at all bothered by our picnicking. There were loads of chipmunks in the park and I saw this little guy (I think it is just a squirrel) on one of my morning walks. We stayed in the same cabins we do every year that sits on the Fall River (you can hear the rushing water from inside!) and there is a tiny museum just down the road perhaps half a mile away that I like to walk to. I came across my little friend one morning. Of course the morning I left my camera behind I saw three elk (males butting heads/antlers), a rafter of wild turkeys (I had to look that up . . .), lots of crows, and two coyote pups (though I they could have been wolf pups?) crossing the road. Well, they seemed more like they were frolicking to be honest. And birds. Lots of lots of birds, including bluejays (or whatever the local equivalent is). So, very picturesque in a variety of ways.
Part two in the next day or two. I might have to get in a little bookishness first.