Colorado Vacation – Day 8

Day 8:

  • Left camp around 8:30am
  • Entered Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Traveled to the Alpine visitor’s center via Fall River Road and returned on Trail Ridge Road
  • Early lunch and nap time at camp
  • Met Tim, McKenzie and Katie at camp to spend the afternoon together
  • Visited the alluvial fan and Roaring River
  • Visited Bear Lake
  • Back into Estes Park for some late “lunch”
  • Traveled to Meeker Park and tried out a nice offroad trail
  • Parted ways with Tim and returned to camp

Today we arranged to meet up with Tim, his girlfriend McKenzie, and her friend Katie at noon so we could spend the afternoon together. To make the most of the day, Dusty, Evan and I got an early start and headed into Rocky Mountain National Park. We traveled up Old Fall River Road, a dirt road that winds its way up to the Alpine visitor’s center. Along the way we stopped a few times to look at some waterfalls. At one of the trailheads, we came across a couple of guys in an old pickup who were having trouble starting the truck. We offered to help, since we had a decent set of tools in the truck. They thought they needed a jump so we tried that, to no avail. I pulled my truck out of the way and walked back down the hill to offer them my tow strap, but by then they had gotten it started – they had a wiring problem with the ignition switch that a little wiggling took care of. After that, we finished our drive and took Trail Ridge Road (a paved highway) back to camp for an early lunch and naptime.

Tim, McKenzie and Katie (McKenzie’s friend visiting from Chicago) rolled in to camp shortly after Evan woke up. We caravaned into the park again and parked at the alluvial fan just inside the park. We took the short hike up to the waterfall and took some pictures. Tim and I climbed up the rocks for kicks, and when we returned Evan was antsy. He saw water, and he wanted to play in it. Evan and I took off our shoes and walked out into a calmer section of the water (named Roaring River, by the way). Evan had a good time, and was torn between wanting to get out of the cold water and the desire to keep playing!

The next stop was Bear Lake, which is a very popular place. We loaded up Evan in the backpack and took a hike around the lake. It’s at about 9500 feet elevation, so even the short hike around the lake was pretty strenuous for a flatlander like myself. After that we headed back into Estes Park and grabbed a late lunch/early dinner (3:30) at Subway.

The next part was a lot of fun for me. Tim led us in his jeep down to Meeker Park to some offroad trails he was familiar with. Tim offered me a choice of a somewhat technical trail or a simpler dirt road covered with softball sized rocks. I’d already tried a road like the latter, and it got pretty old pretty quick, so I chose the more technical road. Tim led the way up the trail, which was typically a section of decent road followed by a more challenging section to negotiate (exactly what I was hoping to find). Tim’s jeep made it through without any problems, but I had to be more careful, since my truck doesn’t have as much ground clearance and the long wheelbase increased the risk of high centering. There were a few pretty tricky sections, but careful planning and wheel placement got us through just fine, crawling in 4-low. After about a mile, Tim pulled over and told me the trail ahead got tougher. The sections I had already been through seemed to be about as much as my truck and myself cared to tackle, so we turned back. Evan was getting tired anyway, so we said our goodbyes and parted ways.

Returning to camp, Evan made friends with our camp neighbors and their three young daughters. The girls seemed to have a good time with the “baby”, and before long, the two little girls from our other neighboring site came over to join in the fun. Evan had some fruit and we put him to bed. The little girls came and talked with us on and off for the next hour or so. Cute kids!

More stuff we saw:

  • The most expensive Subway I’ve seen
  • Chasm Falls and the Lawn Lake alluvial fan in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Alpine visitor’s center in RMNP
  • Tim, McKenzie and Katie
  • The rough road that Tim made his friend drive his camaro up (the same one that discussed above). See ya later, ground effects…
  • A truck pulling a large pontoon boat over Trail Ridge Road
  • A marmot who posed for the camera
  • Our camp neighbors almost losing their popup down the hill while trying to turn it around by hand

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