Sunday, June 29, 2014

6/24 Rocky Mountain National Park

I've been to Rocky Mountain National Park several times, but this time my sons and their families joined me for a few days.  Because of my traveling, I don't get to see my kids and their families, so it was an especially nice opportunity to share this gorgeous area.  Hope the littlest ones will remember this trip.

We left our RVs in Estes Park and spent most of one day caravanning to the highest point, over 12,000 feet high.

Hard to see, but here are some Rocky Mountain Sheep in the distance.

Still snow up here. 

This is the visitor center at the top. Note the logs on the top to hold the roof down.

And here are most of the family next to a snow drift.

Everyone but me and the youngest child hiked the path to the very highest point.  I just enjoyed the time sitting and looking at the flowers. 

The batteries died in my camera, so I do not have photos of the marmots or flowers on the rock fields a few miles down hill.  Darn! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

6/22 Frisco, CO

I made this reservation at Heaton Bay Campground in Frisco because it was a few hours drive to Estes Park, where I am headed tomorrow.  Had no idea what was here other than there was a lake and it was just off I-70 and north of Breckinridge.
Well, basically this a huge ski area at a bit over 9,000 feet in elevation.  Lake Dillon is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and just gorgeous.  The campground is very nice, with sites spread out adequately.  Pine trees are small, but that is what you should expect this close to the tree line.


What is really nice is that there is a bike path that goes through the campground and completely circles the lake--19 miles worth, I was told.  Late yesterday, I rode about 8 miles to a nearby town part way around the lake.  You can see how nice the trail is.  

I even rode over the dam.  Cars can drive over this, but no RVs or trailers are allowed.

Today, I rode the other direction into Frisco.  Not many stores open because it is Sunday, but not much traffic either.  

This is the marina, at the far end of town.  I turned around here and headed back home.  It was lightning a bit in the distance and I got just a bit wet from a few raindrops.

Beautiful place, but I think I like elevations with more oxygen! 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

6/20 Monarch Pass & Leadville, CO

I left Gunnison early this morning heading for someplace closer to Frisco, because I knew doing it in one day was a longer day than I liked to drive.  It would be all two-lane roads and go over two major passes. 

I have been over Monarch Pass before, but it is still impressive because it is over 11,000 ft in height. 

I also knew there was a gondola ride up to the top of the pass, and even though I took it last year, I paid my $8 and did it again!  This is a big ski area and you can see all the ski runs in the distance.

The only things growing on the top of the pass were some very low wildflowers, none of which was taller than 4".  I will post some photos tomorrow. 
Still some dirty snow up here.  Winds were about 35-40 MPH right on the top, which made it easy to get blown around.

As I headed down the east side of the pass, I stopped at this mining operation.  Looks like they are just tearing down the entire mountain!

The old buildings don't look like much, but I could hear the sounds of equipment in the distance.

Here is a front-end loader moving stuff around.  Could see no big dump trucks or anyone digging into the hillsides, but it was definitely still an operating mine.

 These are the mountains surrounding Leadville.  Still lots of snow to melt this year.  I spent the night in a campground about two miles out of town.  Air is really thin up here! 

Leadville is a historic town known for being a mining town and union battles.

This is heading out of town through another pass.  Can't remember its name, unfortunately.

This, however, is Clinton Gulch Dam Reservoir.  I pulled over into a parking lot, and somehow managed to get out again.  Tight fit and my vehicle has a about a 150' turning circle.

The dot in the lake is a guy in one of those inner tubes where you stand in waders and float at the same time.  He was fishing.

6/18 Ridgway State Park, CO

Sorry, this is out of order by one day. 

This is a pleasant state park and one I would come back to again.  I started out in the ridge campground, but there were too many trees to really get a good view of the mountains, so I moved down to a lower one.  Got a lot of cleaning and work done in the three days I was here, including 4 loads of laundry!

You can see the dam in this photo.

These next two photos are of a "fragile prickly pear" cactus.  It is only about 6-10" tall, but has lovely creamy white blossoms.

Haven't figured this one out, yet.

Friday, June 20, 2014

6/19 Black Canyon of the Gunnison

There are only a few places that deserve a "Wow" from me, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of them.  I was here about 40 years ago and again about 25 years ago, and it is still a "Wow" place.  You enter the park on a high plateau, at about 8,000 ' high.

What makes this place unique is the depth of the canyon and the narrowness.  The reason it is called the black canyon is that the bottom seldom gets much sun. 

If you look closely, you can see the river below.  It is about 60-75' wide and drops faster than the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. 

Here's looking back at my motorhome from a scenic viewpoint I walked to.

Here's a cute little guy on a rock.  He was about 8" long. 

More photos of the river and canyon.  Can you imagine hiking down here?  It is really more like a slide down and a scramble up. 

Can't stop taking photos of snow-capped mountains!

Here's a telephoto of the river.  Not even much of a place to walk alongside it once you get down there. 

This is looking back towards Montrose, CO.

Interesting log twisted by the wind during its life, I thought.

And a doe near my campsite.  I thought she looked a little thin.