Sunday, June 6, 2021

Reservations Needed for Rocky Mountain National Park


When my husband and I drove a scenic byway called the "Peak to Peak" on our way toward Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), this portion never fails to take my breath away! It is always exciting to see the park's snow-capped mountains in the distance!  We pick up the byway in Black Hawk and drive north to Estes Park, which is the town right outside the eastern entrance to RMNP.


If you view the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway map on this page, you can see that along with the beautiful scenery, there are many scenic stops along the way.  One of our favorite places is the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland--click here--to read that post, and another is "The Little Chapel on the Rock" which you can see in another post--click here--that I wrote about the Peak to Peak drive.



On this drive, we did not make any stops except for this one to see a historical marker for the former 1885 homestead of Enos A Mills, a naturalist, author, lecturer, and nature guide, who is considered the Father of Rocky Mountain National Park for his work in the effort to preserve this area as a natural park.


We have visited Rocky Mountain National Park many times in the past-- my eight prior posts on the park can be seen under this blog label link. On this visit, we saw this long line of cars at the entrance and realized why RMNP was going to revive last year's reservation requirement again this year.  Because of the COVID pandemic, the park put a reservation system in place in 2020 to control overcrowding.  It worked so well that the decision was made that this year from May 28 to October 11, 2021, visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park will need a timed entry permit and an entrance pass to visit the park.  The full reservation information can be read on the park website on this linkReservations can be made on this linkA limited amount of reservations are available at the park entrance but they sell out fast, so pre-ordering is the best method.  Many visitors have been unaware of this new rule and have sadly had to turn around without visiting.

RMNP is one of the four most visited national parks.  In 2019 the park saw almost 5 million visitors! During the pandemic in 2020, the number was reduced to 3.3 million, and the decrease and timed entrance allowed for better parking at trailheads and crowd control. In fact, it was so popular, it may become a permanent feature during the peak season.




Since we live just about a two-hour drive away from RMNP we usually like to visit off-season, so we were able to enter the park with our lifetime Senior Pass before the reservation system was required on May 28th.  We heard that the main road in the park, Trail Ridge Road, had been plowed to Rainbow Curve at that time, so we wanted to see the snowpack at that point.

 


The Rainbow Curve viewpoint is at 10,829 feet elevation, just below timberline, the transition zone between a subalpine fir and spruce forest, and the alpine tundra of grass and delicate wildflowers.


We took a lot of snow photos! It was already melting fast as the weather was warm. Trail Ridge Road continues on higher, but the complete road had not been plowed open as yet on our visit. It's fully open now. The road travels above the treeline, at 11,500 feet. It then winds across the tundra's vastness to its highest point at 12,183 feet elevation. One-third of RMNP is alpine tundra, which is rare in the lower 48 states, and weather can change quickly at this elevation.  It's normally windy and 20 to 30 degrees colder than Estes Park or Grand Lake. The sun beats down with high-ultraviolet intensity. The vistas sweep north to Wyoming, east across the Front Range cities and Great Plains, south, and west into the heart of the Rockies


We also took many photos of the very snow-capped Longs Peak--the highest mountain in RMNP at 14,259 feet (4346 m).




By later afternoon the weather changed and it became very overcast. We drove toward Bear Lake but the parking lot was so crowded by then that we decided we would walk around Sprague Lake instead.


We always enjoy the walk around Sprague Lake and its views.


A pretty view on our way out of the park


After leaving the park we had our first inside restaurant meal in 14 months! We stopped in to "Smokin Daves BBQ" in Estes Park for dinner. It was so good!  We were very hungry and ordered a lot but the portions were so big we had to take half of it home for the next day's meal.  It was a thrill to feel safe to eat in a restaurant again since we are both fully vaccinated.  It was so good in many ways to feel normal again. So much that we once took for granted we now relish with new gratitude!

June is a busy month for us with three family birthdays and our grandsons playing in Lacrosse tournaments and Little League baseball games, so if I have been late to visit your blog I hope to visit very soon!  Meanwhile, stay happy and healthy my friends!

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I'm linking this post to some of the following blog events:

 Mosaic MondayBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me MondayHome Matters Linky Party,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Travel TuesdayHappiness Is Homemade, Create, Bake, Make Our World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday Turn AboutTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a Tuesday,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and Home,  Thursday Thinking Out Loud, Friday With FriendsFriendship FridaysA Morning Cup of JoeFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayPink SaturdaySaturday SparksSaturday CrittersSunday on Silverado

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Merry Month of May

 


The weather in May in Colorado is very changeable and has been displaying some very dramatic skies lately. We have had frosty mornings, large clouds, thunderstorms, a bit of hail, rainbows, some tornadoes on the plains, and swollen creeks everywhere.


The rain has made everything very green. Trees are budding, lilacs are prolific and the deer are well-fed and shedding their winter fur. 


Between raindrops, my husband and I have been busy this past week clearing old leaf debris from our gardens, trimming dead branches, spreading mulch, weeding, planting seeds, potting annual flowers, and cleaning our patios in anticipation of summer fun. 

The spring perennials in my garden photo collage are Brunnera Jack Frost (upper left), Forget-Me-Not (lower left) Daffodil (upper right), Narcissus (middle right) Vinca (lower right).  I look forward to many more perennials blooming in June!


Another wonderful activity we enjoyed in May has been attending the soccer, lacrosse, and little league baseball games our grandchildren have participated in.  On some of the days, we wore heavy fleece jackets, and other days we wore shorts and short sleeves--that's Colorado!

My husband and I took a drive to Rocky Mountain National Park this week before the new reservation system kicks in over Memorial Day weekend.  The park saw a record-breaking amount of visitors the past few years and, because of covid, a reservation system was instituted to control the number of people in the park.  It worked so well it was instituted again this year from May 28th until October 12th, 2021. I'll be posting photos from that trip in my next blog post. 

Meanwhile, stay happy and healthy my friends!

You can also find me on


I'm linking this post to some of the following blog events:

 Mosaic MondayBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me MondayHome Matters Linky Party,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Travel TuesdayHappiness Is Homemade, Create, Bake, Make Our World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday Turn AboutTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a Tuesday,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and Home,  Thursday Thinking Out Loud, Friday With FriendsFriendship Fridays, A Morning Cup of JoeFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayPink Saturday, Saturday SparksSaturday CrittersSunday on Silverado

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