Friday, July 22, 2011

Moraine Campground in the Rockies National Park

Climbing to top of Rockies
Camping in Moraine Campground.    Each site here is on different levels some up a hill, others on flat land and some down in small valleys so there is absolutely no crowding.    Rangers told me a bear with cubs went thru last night.    This morning I climbed up to 11,769 feet past the tree line into Alpine Tundra.  Seems harder to catch a deep breath, headache, really pushing it.   Of course in my car. 
Sking friend
  1. Many pull overs along the way you just have to stop and view the dense trees, snow fields and spring snow melt flow downs.   At one stop I met a man from Tokyo now living in Boulder.  He had skis and explained he planned to climb up this spot  and ski down to dirt line and climb up again to do another spot. Got to use some my little Japanese on him.  It is amazing at this height how good the roads are, how well kept pull overs are and even great info signs along the way. 

Rockies Marmot
At the Alpine Visitors Center on the peak of the Trail Ridge Road there is a large gift shop and “Café in The Sky” where hot dogs are $5.  Deep snow drifts, green tundra and a view to a valley where there are a few trees.  They are quite small due to a growing season which last about six weeks.   A pine tree can be two feet tall and over 100 yrs. Old.   The wild flowers are blooming like crazy now due to this short span of germinating time. Saw moose, marmots, and yellow-bellied squirrels.   So glad I came early and parked right by the building.   Parking is full now and cars still streaming.    Too bad I have to go back the same route.  Due to the severe weather the other road “Old Fall River Road” is closed.
On the way back there was a hillside of elks.  A little further on an elk tried to cross the road by my car.  During his several attempts he came so close I could almost touch him. Another turn I saw some skiers take off down the mountainside into the valley far below.  How fun would that be.
Well maybe this road is my favorite: switchbacks, narrow, sheer drop offs, vistas, snow, waterfalls, valleys, delicate flowers, marmot, elks, etc.  But you must start early.  It gets VERY busy.
Chili on the rocks in the Rockies
Bear Lake
Rocky Mtn. Park has a free shuttle which you catch at various visitors’ centers.  They run about every 15 minutes.   I took it to Bear Lake which has short walk around.  It was raining so a ranger gave me a hugh garbage bag which I put head and arm holes in so I could continue walking.  This was a nice way to see more in the southern area without driving.  A long tiring day so back to camp where I heated up some chili.

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