This morning at Meeker Overflow Campground, it was damp and 52 degrees. It felt good to be in our truck camper. I could see many tents out there and no one was stirring. Last nigh it poured off and on, but we felt so grateful to be in our little studio apartment. I had run the generator last night to charge our devices, but I also wrapped up the power cable and covered to Honda Generator, before the rain came down. This morning, it was a quick and easy departure. I wanted to make a loop around the area to see this side of the Rockies. Driving down route 7 over to Lyons and back to Estes Park was about a 30 mile trip. Wow, it was worth it! Going down this mountain road with sheer cliffs above us on both sides, water again rushing down from 7,000 feet to 5,000 or so feet, along the side the road was spectacular. This was in the National Forest. Many nooks and crannies had cabins built into the canyons. The rock formations were not flat and sheer, but were rounded and linked together like a puzzle. They didn’t miss calling the Rocky Mountains “Rocky” for nothing. All of this sightseeing was done in early morning with little traffic and many pull off to stop for photos.
Soon we were back in Estes Park with a new mission in mind. This would be our first laundry day since leaving home. Helen spotted an ad for this laundromat that had plenty of washers, dryers and even had showers for hikers! It even had WiFi! I worked on the laptop and on the blogs. After a quick-lunch in the camper, we were onto the big climb through the National Park. Here at Estes Park the elevation was at 7,260 feet. We would be climbing to over 12,000 feet and cross the continental divide. The great thing about the Senior Pass is the savings on entering any National Park. Free with the Senior Pass.
Lets talk about tourists! Thousand and thousands flock to this park and most come by car. The traffic is so congested that often the park service has to shut down portions of the roads in the park. We were fortunate that didn’t happen, but the roads were filled with people and cars. Every pull off was full, but I managed to find spots to get out and get a few good photos.
The distance from Estes Park over the National Park, on the other side is roughly 48 to 50 miles. Not that far, but climbing from 7,260 feet to 12,138 feet above sea level on a fairly winding road is another challenge. I had to be on alert constantly, watching traffic, taking pictures, sometimes while driving, not a smart thing to do! I can definitely see that a dash cam is in order!
Trail Ridge Road
The Trail Ridge Road, we were told was the route to take, It was worth it! The weather could have been better, it didn’t rain, but the sky was overcast with clouds just above the mountain tops. We have traveled above the tree line several times in different parts of the world, but it is always a fresh experience every time we do.
On the western side of the park, we spotted a herd of Elk grazing in a pasture close to the road. We also noticed several tourists stopped along with a park Ranger moving traffic along. We couldn’t stop, but did managed to get the herd.
The Evening Camp ~ Grand Lake, CO
Grand Lake was our spot for the night. Elk Creek Campground had a few spots left and our luck was continuing with securing the site. Grand Lake is a bustling tourist town with an old South West flavor. Wooden boardwalks, wood store fronts, but very modern to cater to tourist.
It was Saturday evening and a very nice Catholic Church was on a side street. A mass at 5pm was perfect for us. This little church doesn’t operate on a regular basis, the priest from Granby, a few miles down the road comes to celebrate the masses.
That is what we saw and did!
July 29, 2017 ~ Grand Lake, CO