Monday, August 20, 2012

Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park

We originally planned to be in Estes Park, Colorado for 4 days and then to head to Oregon taking about 2 weeks to get to the Portland area for Labor Day. But then we decided to go to Alumafandango which is next week in Denver so we extended our stay to 9 days and we are happy we did. There is so much to do in this area.

Estes Park Colorado

We ate lunch at the Grub Steak. Very nice beef brisket sandwich and two local beers.
Rosie was not allowed in but found a nice bench to watch us eat. 50 or so people,
 mostly Rosie's age, 6 years, stopped to pet Rosie.

Estes Park's main street is replete with flower boxes.

There are at least 4 saltwater taffy stores on the main drag.

Estes Lake. The skies were partly cloudy but haze from fires in Colorado
 and neighboring states diffused what sun came through.

Debbie and I pose outside Diva. The "The DiBonas" sign was made for us by an ICU nurse, Rosilita Kirkland,
 I worked with and given as a retirement gift. The sign features the
South Carolina state symbol, the crescent moon and the palmetto tree

Colorado Highway 7 runs from Estes Park south to Allenspark and the east to Lyons Colorado. It is called a scenic highway and boy is it ever. There are 5 or 6 pull-offs every mile The road parallels the eastern side of The Rocky Mountain National Park and there are 3 entrances to the Park between Estes Park and Allenspark.

Colorado Hwy 7

Lily Lake is part of the RMNP but no entrance fee is needed.
 It is right off  Hwy 7 with lots of cars parked right on the road. There is a 0.7 mile trail around the lake.

Lily Lake.  We had one of the clearest days so far today. Very little haze in the air

Lily Lake. We asked a man who was with his wife and two children to snap this picture. I think he was Japanese. He seemed so upset to be snapping a picture of our backs, which is what I wanted, that I agreed to the next picture also.

"Much better," he said.  What do you think?

This Chipmunk lives at Lily Lake. All of his friend's and relatives at Lily Lake seem to be very well fed.

A few miles south of Lily Lake we came across this incredible stone church. It seemed to be part of a 20 or 30 acres complex described as a retreat.

From the front you can see the Rocky Mountain National Park.

This sign indicates the name as S Catharinae

The statue of Jesus is next to the church perched on top of a hill.

We took a hike to Copeland Falls. The guide book told us where to turn for the Wild Basin area. It described the hike to the falls as a 0.3 mile from the trailhead. At the entrance the ranger told us that the parking lots all the way up were full and that we would have to park about 100 yards from the entrance and walk the 2.5 miles to the trailhead. At that parking lot a ranger-volunteer said that a few spots near the trailhead had opened up and that we could proceed ahead. We drove about 0.5 miles and saw a sign we thought said no parking beyond this point so we parked and walked the 2 miles to the trailhead. The sign actually said "No Parking on the Road Side Beyond This Point". Anyway, we got plenty of exercise. The trail follows the St Vrain Creek. When we got to the trailhead there was plenty of parking.

I shot this one of Debbie and me using the 10 second delay on the camera. I set the camera on a log and pushed the shutter then raced back to get in the picture. My first 3 attempts featured my derriere. Those were deleted.

Copeland Falls, St Vrain Creek

We went to Alluvial Fan trail. Thirty years ago a earthen dam forming Lawn Lake in the Roaring River 6 miles above this trail failed and millions of gallons of water as released in a few minutes. The flood killed trees and wildlife and carved a new expanded valley. Huge boulders were thrown down the valley. A second lake below this was flooded and failed sending the water into Estes Park. 3 people died including 2 campers who were warned but went back to their tents to get their cameras. "Alluvial Fan" refers to the fan shape of the destruction caused by the flood.

Two fly fishing men fishing below the falls.

Debbie, Rosie and I on the trail. Later we met with a Park Ranger who told us about the  effects of the flood. Not until the talk was almost over did we see the "No Dogs" sign. We apologized to the Ranger who was not too upset. Rosie was very upset, however, and literally behind the ranger's back took a dump. We lead the ranger in the upwind direction and then headed back to the car. We did not have any plastic doggie bags with us. We saw the same ranger the next day at the Copeland Falls trail but he did not notice us.

The standing dead trees are remnents of the flood. Everything else is new growth.

About 2 miles above the Alluvial Fan Trail it is easy to see some of the destruction from the flood.

I caught several of these Greenback Cutthroat Trout in the Roaring River  above the Alluvial Fan but still 5 or more miles below Lawn Lake. These native trout are endangered and may not be taken from the river.

The Roaring River

This rock was set on its' side by the flood. some joker placed a small limb below the rock looking like a support.

Further evidence of the flood.

We saw a large herd of elk in Moraine Park


  1. I have heard nice things about Estes Park. I am glad you liked it, too. We might head over there next week after Denver. Looking forward to meeting you at Alumafandango!

  2. I think you should just stay in Colorado. Meanwhile, can I sneak into Alumafandango on foot and visit with you for awhile?

    I love the picture of the flowers at the top. Between the two pics of the both of you, I like them both, but your original one wins by a smidge.

    I think that might be the Jesus that was struck by lightning a few years ago.

  3. Love the updates - this one was exceptional!!! I prefer the photo of your backs by the way - However, my favorite includes the palmetto tree, heehee!! We miss you tons!!!!!!! Have fun at Alumafangango!! Oh, send taffy!!!!!!!!!!! lol luv y'all! k

  4. So glad you were able to experience the park and all the surroundings of our beautiful state. I only wish I had known you were coming to Alumafandango so we could have chatted awhile and I could have seen "The Diva"!! Safe travels, Frank!!

  5. Thanks for sharing the pics and prose Frank. I really enjoy reading your blog. Just curious where you stayed in Estes Park, and do you recommend the campground? I live near Boulder and frequent RMNP, but I have yet to check out all the campgrounds in the Estes Park area. Just want to make sure I am not missing a good one!

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