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Rocky Mountain Weekend

In preparation our departure from the region, we decided to head up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Despite living near it for years, I’ve never gotten up there. Every time I do go, the highway running through the park has been closed for the winter season, so I’ve never even seen the park. Perhaps in defiance of our past road trips where every cubic inch of car space was filled with stuff, we just through the basics into the car without much thought. I didn’t bring much photo stuff. We planned to BBQ some chicken and brought along some rice that I cooked up. Susan threw in some ramen noodles.

Elk near the park entrance

We drove up to the park and got in free by showing our military ID. Sweet. The east side campgrounds were full so we headed for Timberlake campground, 33 miles west of Estes Park. Along the way we saw some elk. We got to the camp ground, picked a site, and started to pitch our tent. This was the first time we pitched this tent, an REI Kingdom 8, which is different than our Quarter Dome and Half Dome tents. Erecting the tent took a while, and I’d say 2 people are recommended, if not required. The thing is huge, but one of the great things is that I can stand up in it. I’ll write more about it in the future when we use it a bit more.

Mountains and valleys

 

Setting up the tent for the first time.

Katherine waiting for dinner.

 

We BBQ’ed the chicken but discovered the rice tasted like soap. I’m not sure why, but it was pretty bad. So suddenly our food supply was cut down considerably. . . We attended a NPS presentation about black bears that lived in the park. It was cool to learn a bit more about them. It definitely started to feel cold as the sun went down, but we brought along every blanket we own, as well as a portable heater so we survived the night.

The Elk make an appearance in the camp.

Grilling the chicken over the fire.

Camping makes for great family time!

Saturday dawned, and as the sun came up, so did the temperatures. We decided to go to Lulu City, the site of a small silver mining town from the 1880’s. The hike was about 3.7 miles one way. We didn’t know anything about the destination save for the fact that it was supposed to be fairly flat. The trail headed along a tiny Colorado River, and it was crazy to think that this small stream created the Grand Canyon. We carried Katherine most of the way, but she did jump and run along parts of the trail. We took about 2 hours to reach Lulu city, but I can’t say the destination was much to write about. Just a few logs left of a cabin. The hike though was great. We spent about 2 hours in the Lulu city area watching the birds and listening to the Colorado River before starting back. On the return trip, we saw a marmot run across the trail.

On the hike to Lulu city

The Marmot we saw

After playing in the dirt.

Susan BBQ’d some ribs and honey BBQ pork on the fire, and we called it a night. The next morning, we packed up our camp and headed out to Estes park. We wanted to stop at the Estes Ark, a business that sold a lot of stuffed animals. The building resembled Noah’s arc. It was not open yet, so to kill an hour we ate lunch at “The Grumpy Gringo.” I would not eat there again. The food was priced pretty high on the spectrum of Mexican food, but also was extremely bland. After we finished, we went over the Estes Arc and checked the place out before leaving with a stuffed butterfly.

Mmmmm, honey BBQ pork.

Taken on the way out of the park.

Trying to think of a word to sum up the food at the Grumpy Gringo

The Grumpy Gringo

Nice weekend.

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