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Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12

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Offline tjavery

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Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12
« on: July 26, 2010, 10:25:47 AM »
My wife wanted to "see something majestic... something in the mountains", so she picked the destination for this family trip. She picked well.

We flew to Denver on July 8th and drove to Estes Park. We stayed in a hotel there for four nights and made day trips into Rocky Mtn. N.P.

My wife, two sons, mom, step-dad, mother-in-law, and myself all went. I've already received a lot of comments about how 7 of us could manage such a trip without killing each other. Well, we made it and we actually had a good time. I'm amazed myself.


DAY 1

Houston-Denver-Estes Park-RMNP: We pretty much made the trip all in one non-stop push. We hit Estes Park a little too early to check into the hotel, so we drove into RMNP and went to the Bear Lake area. There was a small herd of elk hanging out near the road on the edge of town and folks were piling up along the road to take pictures.

It had just rained and sleeted in the upper elevations of the park, and most folks were heading out. We hiked around Bear Lake and hung out for a while. It only sprinkled a little.

Next we drove back to EP and checked in at the Silver Moon Inn. A little while later, we picked up Subway sandwiches and drove back into the park for a picnic dinner. By this time the skies were clearing and the sun was out.



We then drove up to Rainbow Curve (on the Trail Ridge Road) and then on to the Forest Canyon Overlook (at 11,700 ft.). At this point I started to feel the altitude in a bad way and was developing a splitting headache (one that would last for the next three days). My older son (5 yrs), who is in constant motion even when "sitting still", got sick and barfed on the short trail.



We didn't know it at the time, but a small plane had crashed in the park that day:
http://www.nps.gov/romo/parknews/pr_airplane_crash.htm


DAY 2

We slept in a bit and got a late start. My wife and I took our boys into the park for a hike, and we left the older folks to stay in town and go shopping.



We hiked up to Bierstadt Lake and hung out a while. They boys scrounged for any rocks or sticks they could lift and threw them into the water.



After the hike, we headed back to town for pizza at Bob & Tony's. Awesome.

Shortly after my wife noticed green slime coming out of our older son's left ear. We found a nearby family clinic and in short time we were in and out and got antibiotics. He'd developed a nasty ear infection, something he's prone to.

He was feeling okay, so we all packed up for a late afternoon hike and headed for Alberta Falls in RMNP.





Made a quick stop in Moraine Park to watch the sunset, then headed back to town for some Tex-Mex at Casa Grande (cannot recommend... sorta okay-to-yuck).




DAY 3

The big driving adventure: We took most of the day and drove through the park over to Grande Lake and then back.









Thunderstorms popped up in the early afternoon and chased us down out of the mountains. Temps dropped into the upper 40's and it started sleeting. I actually ran out into the mess (including 20-30mph winds) to shoot a rainbow.





Hit the go-cart track in Estes Park after dinner (Italian place next to the fun park). Both kids had a blast riding in the 2-seaters.



I dropped everyone off at the hotel and then jetted into the park to catch what was left of the awesome sunset. I hung out in the dark for a long while before giving up on seeing the Milky Way. The clouds were just too heavy.




DAY 4

Driving adventure 2: drove up Old Fall River Road to the Alpine visitor center.

We first stopped at the Alluvial Fan and let the kids play. It was awesome to crawl around on the boulders and stick our bare feet into the damn cold water.





Then we headed up the road and stopped at Chasm Falls for the very short hike down into the canyon below the falls.



The drive up Old Fall River Road was fun and interesting. It's very curvy, not paved, and steep. I spotted many other places along the road that I wanted to stop but the older folks had shopping in mind for the afternoon, so we had to push on.

We ate lunch at the Alpine VC and then headed back to EP.



My wife and I left the kiddos with the grandparents, and then she and I headed into the park for an afternoon hike by ourselves.

We hiked to Alberta Falls again and then pushed on higher into the mountains. It rained off and on as we hiked. We made it up to The Loch (a lake at about 10,200 ft.) just as the weather was getting nasty. The wind picked up fiercely and the temps dropped. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt but quickly put on both my jacket and rain poncho. I wanted to stay a while and wait things out, but the thunder really had us worried so we headed back down.



It rained most of the way back, but thankfully the heavy thunder seemed to stay high up in the mountains.



The trail follows Icy Brook and Glacial Creek most of the way and is quite beautiful. It was hard coming back down in the rain- I wanted to take loads of photos but could only manage a few with the help of my wife.



We made it back to town around dinner time, and then we all headed to a steak house for some meat (Hunter's Chop House, or something like that). Mom really wanted a steak but ended up with a hamburger. I really wanted a burger but got a steak. The kids got mac-n-cheese. It all worked out. Everyone was happy. They had Fat Tire on tap. I was extra happy.

I headed back into the park for another solo sunset-seeking trip. This time it was mostly cloudy and there was no dramatic light.




DAY 5

We packed up quick and made one last venture into the park. We drove straight to Sprague Lake and then spent about an hour slowly walking around it.





After that, we drove back to Denver and then flew to Houston. The end!

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Offline randell

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 10:35:32 AM »


WTH!  Awesome photos as usual.  You're getting better and better at the black and whites.
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 12:45:13 PM »

It's the Mad Trapper! :willynilly:

Great pics as usual, TJ.

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2010, 01:28:33 PM »
Great pics, TJ!  Maybe it's just me, but I haven't found any decent Tex-Mex food outside of Texas and Oklahoma.  The 'tex-mex' I tried in Santa Fe, NM wasn't anything like back home, for sure!

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Offline badknees

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 01:45:57 PM »
Would you be so kinda as to share settings on this shot. Did you have to use a ND filter or did you just stop down. Looks like a pretty low shutter speed(?)

Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 01:58:34 PM »
Wonderful pics. I especially like the chipmunk pic!
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 02:47:34 PM »
Thanks everyone!

BK: check this out:
http://www.texbrick.com/photo/photoblog/?p=24

It's an alternate to the vertical I posted above, but the shooting settings and info are all the same (except focal length - the vertical was at 18mm).

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Offline badknees

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 06:52:18 PM »
Thanks everyone!

BK: check this out:
http://www.texbrick.com/photo/photoblog/?p=24

It's an alternate to the vertical I posted above, but the shooting settings and info are all the same (except focal length - the vertical was at 18mm).

Thanks TJ, that explained everything.
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline tjavery

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Re: Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park July 8-12
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2010, 07:56:37 PM »
Oh, lemme 'splain the fur coat thing - That was at the Holzwarth Historic Site. It was a group of old cabins in a valley where some folks settled long ago. It was near the headwaters of the Colorado River. They had a few "period" coats, hats, bonnets, etc. out for people to try on. I put on the "bear suit" and proceeded to terrorize my kids. What else do dads do in that situation? :icon_lol:

 


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