Following up on our previous post, we caught the wonderful sunrise at Flagler, pulled up stakes, and struck out for Rocky Mountain National Park (furthermore now to be written RMNP). We stopped at the gate and bought our annual Park Pass as ours had expired within a week or two. For myself, it was a test of our rig… after dragging traytray all over the continent last year and having sat on the prairie through the harsh winter I really wondered if the Envoy had the juice to pull the Argosy over the Continental Divide, cresting a 12,200 foot pass…we did slow to 35mph a few times, but we prevailed!
As we descended down into Grand Lake it finally felt like we were on our way.
I thought I might share a bit of personal history with you all. When I was 11 or 12 year’s old our family had a vacation at Grand Lake, Colorado. I remember it being a business associate of my dad’s. He brought the snowmobiles and this trip made a huge impression on me. It was my first exposure to “mountains”… and to winter proper! I was man enough to drive the snowmobile…even at 90 mph across the frozen lake. It was unfortunate however that I crashed into a tree (in the woods…not going 90) and did damage to someone else’s ride. But here I find myself back 30 years later, and this time in the summer. It is glorious here.
We rumbled up county road 4 towards the Stillwater Pass and found an incredible spot surrounded by a log fence and looking out over the lake and RMNP. We had some temporary tenting neighbors with 2 wonderful kids. Seems they may have run off and left their tent and stuff…weird.
So on our trip last year we ran out of paper to start fires and started a weird little tradition. We started tearing pages out of our atlas of places we probably will not go, or if we do, we wouldnt need a map of. We started our first fire here at stillwater pass compliments of Minnesota, Indiana, and Alabama.
The next day we went back to RMNP sans traytray and were able to stop at various overlooks and take pics. Unfortunately due to the pet policy in the national parks (totally understandable btw) we were not able to hike in the park. We did find a nice municipal park though…a bit rough around the edges, akin to Richmond Hill in Asheville, that led to a nice spot on the Colorado River.
We also found a great 4.5 mile loop hike around Monarch Lake! This hike had everything…3 creek crossings, marshes, pine forests, beaches. We tried to hike it on Thursday but the volatile weather prevented us from making it too far. We turned back. It turned out to be a blessing however, due to the crowds and the eventual hailstorm. Friday morning we awoke to the most spectacular sunrise ever! We loaded up our menagerie and returned to Monarch Lake and had the place to ourselves in the wonderful morning light.
Later I dropped Cate off to paint inside the park while running some errands. On the way to retrieve her I saw a brief flash of brown streak across the road ahead and bounce off of an oncoming car. I assume it was an elk. As I got closer, there was no sign of the animal, but headlight and bumper parts were strewn across the road. No humans were hurt, I hope the elk recovers quickly.
We still have a few days left here while we wait on Cate’s medicine to be drop shipped to Nederland… Stay tuned.
In closing, we’d like to offer congrats, love and kisses to our dear friends Z and Katharine whom are gettin’ hitched today. We sure wish we couldbe there!
and our most heartfelt condolences for Don, Marty, Sherry, and all the Lewis family on the loss of Ralph. We will miss him, his infectious smile, and his music. We feel so privileged to have been able to have know him.. (for those of you who don’t know, Ralph was one of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, and one heck of a musician)