Saturday, October 11, 2014

End of Summer Hike - Estes Park / RMNP

The mountains are what drew me to Colorado, but yet, I haven't really spent to much time within them yet.  I was fortunate that my new friend invited me up to Estes Park for the weekend.  She selected this particular weekend because she hoped it was going to be the peak of the aspen's changing colors...and we were not disappointed.  The bright yellow leaves mixed among the green pines is a beautiful site, and one that captured my heart 4 years ago when I visited Colorado.  The three of us spend the weekend doing a few hikes, driving part of the Rocky Mountain National Park and walking through downtown Estes Park (what a cute town!).

Gem Lake
The first hike we did was Gem Lake.  This 1.8 mile hike only gained 910 feet, but man, those steps towards the end were deep.  The trail was nice, there were a few small aspen groves that changed color and some neat rock formations along the way.  We stopped here for a bit to appreciate the scenery and the perfect weather day.  We did not keep going to the balanced rock, but went back down because we wanted to drive around Rocky Mountain National Park for a bit...maybe see some Elks because it was mating season.  And we did.  We saw a nice small heard, and they were getting close so the park ranger started to have everyone go roadside...and smart thinking, within 5 minutes the elk were were we were standing.  It was neat to see the bull with his ladies and watching them interact.

Alberta Falls Trail
The next day we headed into the RMNP again for a hike.  We parked in a large parking lot and took the bus to the trail head (what a great you don't have to double back to your car...but keep going to the next bus area).  We went up to Alberta Falls and Bear Lake.  The park had amazing aspen color and we lucked out again for having such amazing weather.

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