In the mountains at Elk Creek

It was a shame to leave Cold Springs in the Arapaho forest.  It was a great campsite.  I’ll never forget those wild flowers.  We pulled out of there knowing we were embarking on a pretty epic drive over a mountain range.  The scenery along the way was outstanding and very steep winding mountain passes.  Stuart drove exceptionally well and really enjoyed it.

 

This is a link to the video of the drive we made

https://youtu.be/FE1AbgadLWY

We were heading to a place called Grand Lake.  It’s in an area called Shadow Mountain and it’s right on the edge (less than a mile) from the Rocky Mountains National Park.  We found the RV park, Elk Creek Campsite easily and got set up, then went for a walk down into the town of Grand Lake.  This place is lovely.  There are Elk and Bears right here in the campsite.  I think the bears are crafty little things and come out at night to find food, so we are unlikely to run into one.  The Elk walk around here as though they own the place.  They were described to us as ‘spooky’.  You can be right beside one and not know it’s there.  The females are having their babies at this time and can be very aggressive, the males can charge at you if they get nervous.  There was one here this afternoon, but I only saw her bum as he disappeared into the bush.

The photos below are from our walk around Grand Lake

The photos below are the campsite, Elk Creek

 

There are fir trees of all species all around and lots of aspens.  We still get to see lots of furry woodland animals and hummingbirds all around.  It really is the idyllic woodland life here in Colorado.

We are at this campsite for 3 nights.  This is our last night tonight and we are both sad to be moving on.

Yesterday we went for a drive in the car to Estes park which is on the other side of the Rocky Mountain National park-it takes about 2 hours to drive over there and you climb over 12,000 feet-higher than Mt Cook-two miles above sea level.  The road winds around the mountain with fir trees right up to the edge of the road, and then the view opens up to a vast valley below, the Medicine Bow mountains are a majestic backdrop in the distance.

 

The Rocky Mountain National park is stunningly beautiful.  It’s the loveliest mountain range I’ve ever seen and it’s full of wild animals such as Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep, Black Bears, Coyote, Mule Deer, Yellow Bellied Marmot and Pika (little squirrel).  So while you are driving through the park to see the mountains, its also like being on a wildlife safari.  I saw a Moose in the distance and quite a few deer.  Lots of animals in the far distance, too hard to tell what they were.  It’s such a joy to see so much natural wildlife.  Aside from the scenery and animals, the tundra was spectacular.

The variety of grasses was surprising and the alpine flowers were so colourful and plentiful, its hard to believe its all natural.  I am so pleased to have seen this place in my lifetime.  We are eventually heading to Yellowstone, I can’t imagine it would be better!

2 hours of driving through the park we arrived at Estes.  The town there looked very interesting and quirky but we drove onto Estes Lake for a 4 mile walk which was very nice.

Back home through the Rocky Mountain National park and home to the coach.  We were lucky to have a perfect weather day for this exploring.  The weather can be very changeable up in these mountains.  At Estes we had about 90deg.

Today we took the coach and car to a car wash to give it a clean.  We weren’t sure if the coach would fit under the roof, so Stuart had me climbing to the top of the ladder at the back of the coach, trying to hold on and talk into the radio at the same time.  We cleared the top my about a cm.  It was a freezing cold morning-so different to the day before.  We had rain and hail.  It took us ages to clean the coach but it looked great after.

In the afternoon the sun came out so we rode our bicycles into Grand Lake for an explore.  It’s a lovely town, full of character.  A cross between the wildwest and the chalets of Austria.  Hanging baskets everywhere, and saloons with hides for table clothes and sawdust on the floor.  Very nice place.  I would love to see it in the middle of winter, then you can take horse drawn sleigh rides through the town!

Tomorrow we are off to a place called Steamboat Springs which is less than a 100 miles away but again, over a steep mountain range.