We’re getting a little carried away here… We ended up getting YET ANOTHER hotel room, this time in a cute little town in Colorado called Estes Park, right in the foothills of Rocky Mountain National Park.
After a glorious night of slumber, Ricky woke me up bright and early (7:15, not that early. But this girl doesn’t like being woken up unless it’s by an alarm set by me) so that we could get hiking in the Rockies nice and early with less people and more wildlife. But, as per usual, he was right. It was better in the morning hours, and our first wildlife sighting was actually right in downtown Estes. A heard of about 20 Elk were just hanging out and grazing on a grassy area at the local gas station, and leisurely strolling across the streets. These are pretty massive creatures, and they don’t seem to be bothered by people or cars at all… they just go about their business.
We drove about an hour or so up to the hiking trail, and saw a whole bunch more Elk as we were driving. They’re everywhere up here! Our first trail was about 4 miles round trip reaching an elevation of about 10,000ft. It takes you around to a few of the different lakes which, even though they’re starting to freeze up, are absolutely beautiful. The air is THIN up here, and I definitely lost my breath a time or 2 during the steeper parts of the hike, but it was beyond worth it. The scenery of Rocky Mountain National park can’t even be expressed in words, so I’ll leave that part to the photography of Ricky Saetta. Can I just take a moment right now to shout out Teddy Roosevelt please?! Way to go, establishing National Parks… way to preserve at least some of the natural beauty and wildlife of this country. We are thankful.
After we were awed by the beauty of our first hike, we set out on a second, shorter hike to Alberta Falls. We caught some different scenery here and took advantage of the photo ops at just one of Rocky Mountain National Park’s numerous waterfalls. We were climbing all over the rocks at the falls, and Ricky was even able to hop over to the other side for a different view. I couldn’t though.. He has longer legs than me..
The only downfall to hiking in the Rockies is the fear of being eaten by a bear.. I heard one too many bear attack stories on the news over the past couple of months that has sparked a fear deep in my heart. Thank goodness Katie gave me this invaluable can of bear spray. It never left my side while in the mountains. Thank you Katie!!!
Ok, so since we’ve been on the trip there have been 3 things I’ve repeatedly asked to do… First, it was kayaking.. “Richie, can we please go kayaking???” We never went. Then, it was white water rafting, which also got shafted (mostly bc it’s too cold). And now, ever since we hit New Mexico, I’ve been dying to go horseback riding. I put my foot down and made it happen. There just happened to be a ranch in Estes park that requires no reservations, so I signed us up for an hour ride in the foothills. It was really relaxing, with nice views, but it’s frustrating to have to stay in line just walking with the tour. Ricky and I both just wanted to break away from the group and gallop out into nature! We’re both kind of in love with horseback riding now and owning my own horse is now in my list of “things to do once I get to California”.
Great way to end an awesome day.
Next Stop: Wyoming