Monday, August 3, 2020

Family Vacation - Rocky Mountain National Park Pt. 1

My family has been trying to hit a National Park every year. This year the goal was to check out Rocky Mountain National Park. With the current pandemic we kept going back and forth and with the overwhelming concerns we considered canceling the trip. The current state of things have made everyone long for a distraction to get a feeling of normality. What better way to get distracted than to visit the Rockies. We were spending 4 days in the park and our first day there was tame. We were staying in Granby on the west side of the park and we took our time just exploring the area. We did a hike at Monarch Lake which is just south of Grand Lake. 
It was rumored to be a good moose viewing area but we didn't see any. The scenery was great and it was a good hike to help us get acclimated to the altitude.

The next day we actually went into the park and with the timed entry system we didn't have any wait at all. The plan was to explore some of the things on the west side and find a moose. Coyote Valley was our first destination and the a place I couldn't resist trying my luck for some trout.
The stream wasn't that deep but it had great access and plenty of places for trout to hold. 
It only took a few casts with a small caddis to get some action. I was able to hook the fish but it came off after a couple seconds. Every few casts yielded the same experience a small fish would get hooked but come off shortly after. I was a little frustrated but also relieved. I knew a fish would come eventually but I wasn't sure what I was doing wrong. I tried switching to a smaller fly but the same scenarios would keep happening a fish would get hooked only to come off. We kept searching for moose along the valley but were unable find any. The scenery kept us entertained.
The next stop was the Alpine Visitor center and on the way up we saw an elk close to the road.
It ignored the cars passing by. It was so close to the road it was easy to miss behind the trees and brush. Going higher into the park is where you see the best views in my opinion. 
Once you reach the upper altitude of the Rockies you really get breathtaking views. 
Each direction you look is a postcard. 
If you visit this park I recommend checking out the Tundra Communities Trail. It's not far past the Alpine Visitor's center and it explained the habitat and animals that live in the Tundra.
If you have kids they will love the pikas and marmots that scurry around the area. The pikas were my kids favorite.
The marmots are not afraid of humans and I wouldn't be surprised if some people tried to take them home. They look like friendly mountain beavers just waiting to be pet.
We saw plenty of people try to pet them and feed them even there there are signs all over the park saying you should not do that. 

At the top of the communities trail there are interesting rock formations. 
The park did a great job of planning the path around the boulders so you can enjoy them while still seeing amazing views of the surrounding mountains. 
I feel like this trail is a must see.
I didn't take any pictures of the Alpine visitor center but it's worth visiting. It's the highest visitor center in North America. It also has a neat gift shop that has views of the canyon. 

There's too much for one post. I'll add more this week.  

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Was there a month ago! We loved that park and took the trail ridge road in the opposite direction from you, saw 2 moose on the way out of the western side of the park. Hope you are killin' them.