That’s right. As the title of this post suggests, we only got a little taste of Rocky Mountain National Park instead of the heaping serving I would have liked. After an amazing trip to Iceland, we returned to the bus, which was parked in Golden, Colorado. From there, we headed north to Estes Park, which is the town adjacent to Rocky Mountain NP. I was pretty psyched to check out the park, but alas, Mother Nature had different plans for us. Of the four or five days we were there, we had about four hours of sunlight. The rest of the time, we had torrential downpours and thunderstorms.
To be honest, I wasn’t all that bummed about the weather situation. We go to a lot of great places and see a lot of amazing things. It’s bound to be gloomy once in a while. Besides, Ben and I both ADORE the sound of the rain on the roof of the bus! We used the time to regroup after the Iceland workshop and get a bunch of work done. It was also convenient that, while the rest of the country was smoldering hot, we managed to skirt the heat wave by hanging out in higher altitudes.
We did get to explore the national park one morning before the skies opened up. Ben just happened to wake up really early and check the weather. After seeing that we’d have a few brief hours of sun before a week of storms, he woke me up and we set out to explore.
Our first stop was the Alluvial Fan waterfall, which was initially created when the Lawn Lake dam broke and caused a flash flood. It’s very picturesque and we enjoyed shooting there until about 9 am when the rush of tourists arrived. (The tourist situation during this time of year was another reason I wasn’t bummed about our visit being cut short. I’d rather return to the park during an off-season when it’s not so crowded.)
We also drove Old Fall River Road, with all its twisty turns, up to the Alpine Visitor Center, which is close to 12,000 feet in altitude. We made some stops along the road, my favorite of which was to photograph a pair of elk against a beautiful mountain backdrop. We had lunch at the visitor center overlooking a beautiful vista with herds of elk and snow-capped mountains. It was on our way back down the mountain that the skies turned murky and started raining.
Once the storms started, we spent most of the time working inside the bus. Before we left Estes Park, however, we did pay a visit to the historic Stanley Hotel. If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend visiting this beautiful place. Heck, if you’re not staying in an RV like we do, I’d suggest staying there for a few nights … That is, of course, if you’re not freaked out by the fact that the place was the inspiration for the film, The Shining. Honestly, though, the place is gorgeous and feels quite cozy for being such a fancy hotel. Ben and I spent some time checking the place out and grabbing a cocktail at the bar.
Well, folks, I hope our next visit to Rocky Mountain NP yields some more images! After leaving Estes Park, we headed toward Salt Lake City, Utah to visit some of Ben’s family. More to come…