A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Colorado: Day 3 (Trail Ridge Road and Cascade Falls)

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I was so excited to go to Rocky Mountain National Park that I woke up at 4am- a full hour before my alarm went off! Paul and I like to get an early start when dealing with popular vacation destinations because we don't want to be stuck with the crowds. Did you know we hate people? We do.

The entrance to the park was only 3 miles from where we were staying. Our plan was to drive Trail Ridge Road over to Grand Lake. I could never adequately describe how gorgeous this drive is, so here are the pictures to prove it.




Driving over the mountains was not scary except for a couple "goner spots" near the top. Paul calls these "goner spots" because if you drove off the road you would basically fall down the mountain and die. The elevation gets up to 11,827 ft- so high that it has a different ecosystem- the TUNDRA!




Since we left early, we saw a lot of wildlife! There were elk, a huge moose, and when we walked a short tundra trail, we saw two yellow bellied marmots having sex! Wow!


Here they are banging. Sorry it's not a bigger picture.

Not the ones we saw, but so many of you wondered what they were so I figured I'd show you a close up!

The whole drive including stops took about two hours. Before entering Grand Lake, we stopped at the Kawuneche Visitor's Center and I got this awesome book...

I am excited and terrified to read it!

We were hungry and tired when we got to Grand Lake around 8am. (Hey, driving over mountains takes a lot out of you!) We got bagels and coffee at a deli and headed over to the North Inlet Trail where we did a 7 mile (roundtrip) hike to Cascade Falls. Guys, this was one of the most beautiful hikes I ever did!!!!! 











There was a warning sign for mountain lions, so the whole time, I carried a huge stick. The warning sign said: 

* Keep small children close
* Do not jog, especially not alone
* No dogs

Did you know people don't like to follow rules? I sometimes think it's just my students who don't follow rules, but then I go out into society and realize adults don't follow rules either! We saw a lone jogger go by ("Bait!" I whispered to Paul), at least 4 people with dogs, and lots of people with small children who were running about all willy nilly. They were just asking to get eaten by a mountain lion if you asked me. For the most part, we were alone on this hike, we only saw people if we passed them or if they were going the other direction.



We were so tired and hungry when we were done, that we drove straight back to the deli we had breakfast at and got huge sandwiches. We stuffed our faces and it was glorious.

Since we didn't have a whole lot of energy left, we made a quick stop at Shadow Mountain Lake before heading back over the mountains.




The way back was scarier because a huge storm was coming just as we were on the tippy top of the mountains! There was dark clouds, rain, and lightening... all this while I navigated the "goner spots". When we finally made it below the tree line, I breathed a sigh of relief!




We spent quite a bit of time relaxing in our motel room after that huge adventure. Dinner time came and went. We weren't hungry and were too tired to go anywhere. Finally around 8pm, we headed down to the steak house attached to our motel. It was actually really cool inside! Dark and "Colorado'y" is the best way I can describe it. There was an older man playing the piano and he was AWESOME. He played a lot of show tunes as well as songs I didn't recognize.





We also made friends with a drunk lady at the table next to us. She kept telling us to watch "The Sting" with Robert Redford. It was a fun time!
Do you ever notice adults not following the rules?
Ever drive on any scary roads?
Have you ever seen animals having sex in the wild?

14 comments:

  1. I will be sad when your Colorado trip recaps come to an end. So fun to hear all about your adventures. I know how Trail Ridge Road can be scary. I never get used to it. We see rule breakers at Lake Loveland who swim outside the designated swim beach but truth be told, we do it too. The roped off swim beach area is small and filled with screaming, splashing kids. Um, no thanks! Happy Saturday to you and Paul.

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    1. You rule breakers!! :) I honestly think it is easier to break the rules when you are on your own turf, don't you think?

      Yah that road... those goner spots... when it started to rain I had some mild anxiety attacks going on! And whaddaya know, after reading that book, a couple people slid off TRR and a couple people purposefully killed themselves there Thelma and Louise style!!

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  2. I was going to say rain on TRR makes me so anxious. Rain in general makes me anxious while driving because I feel like my car is going to hydroplane at any minute.

    Driving off TRR on purpose. Wow, how could you do that?!? People think of the craziest ways to end things.

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    1. I know! And not that I'm suicidal, but I would like to think if I wanted to end it I'd just take a bottle of sleeping pills and call it a day! Sounds a lot nicer than plunging to my death in a car and most likely bursting into flames. Plus think of all the money and manpower it would cost to clean up the accident. Just a shitty thing to do in a national park!

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  3. I'm glad you survived Trail Ridge Road. I haven't spent much time on the Grand Lake side of the park because it's a longer drive, but I want to because it's less crowded. And people are SO DUMB about following rules in national parks. Drives me crazy. I am a jerk and kinda hope such rule-breakers get eaten. Natural selection, right?

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    1. lol!!! Okay I don't want them to get eaten, but I do secretly hope that my good faith effort in following the rules makes me less likely to get eaten than someone not following the rules... so okay yes I kind of hope that if it's me or them, it's THEM!

      Like I said, I am a huge rule follower. Do you think as teachers it's in our nature??????

      If you do go to the Grand Lake side I really recommend that N. Inlet trail because it is so pretty. But you might be used to the beauty of Colorado!

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  4. That seems like a great book to read AFTER you survive the the Park, but not before you go!

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    1. You are so right! I started reading it when we only had one hike left. Had I read it before we had done our hike I depicted in this post, I would have been terrified because a 13 year old girl fell to her death at Cascade Falls and an 8 year old boy was mauled by a mountain lion ON THIS VERY TRAIL. He was running ahead of his parents. JUST LIKE THE SIGN WARNS.

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  5. Oh that book is perfect for you! That is the perfect name for that "goner spot". I can remember Ireland having some spots like that. They were real narrow roads around mountains!

    And oh yes, I see adults not following rules all the time. I don't know if I just notice it more cus I'm a teacher or what..lol

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    1. Why don't they put up guard rails at the goner spots here and in Ireland??? Inquiring minds want to know!

      I do think we see it more because we are teachers. :) It's just our nature.

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  6. Whenever I visit, my parents drive those roads. I hate TRR and I hate Berthoud Pass. I'm nervous enough as a passenger, with dry roads. Rainy/snowy roads are worse!

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    1. I had to google that place and we did not go down that far but now I wish we had! Not because I want to go by more goner spots because there is just always so much more to see!

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  7. I am dying at how awesome it all is. I am also dying at the thought of you beating off a mountain lion with that stick!
    I see people driving all the time never hardly looking at just stuck on their phones, it is wacky! adults break rules all the time... and get mad if they get called out. We have an issue with smokers at our building, it is a school you cant smoke in it, especially when you suspend kids for it.
    OMG, the scariest road I drove on was in Oregon, it was the skinniest rickety road and the drop off was straight down, I was sweating...literally drenched. I can not imagine doing it at night, day time wore me out!
    I would love the hike to the Falls!

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    1. THEY DO GET MAD IF THEY GET CALLED OUT!!! LOL!!! At least students fix their behavior. Adults feel entitled and don't think the rules apply to them.

      That road in Oregon sounds so scary. Now I am wondering if Trail Ridge Road is open at night. I'm gonna look it up. I can't imagine it is. There are no lights!

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