Rocky Mountain National Park

Mountains. Wild Flowers. Lakes. Snow. Hail. Rainbows. Rain. Sun shine. We had it all during our visit to Rocky Mountain National Park!

Which leads us to our first tip: Be prepared for all sorts of weather. Bring sunscreen AND a sweater. We saw lots and lots of people shivering in the snow while wearing their shorts in June. Don’t be that guy. And don’t wear those pants that turn into shorts. Ever. Even this extreme temperature change does not warrant those atrocities.

Cas has finally recovered from plantar fasciitis! Glory hallelujah! We were up for about a six mile hike that day but decided to segment it into several smaller hikes in case Cas’ foot started bothering him. In every National Park we’ve ever been to (and it is a lot of them!), we’ve noticed the same pattern: the hikes that are short and especially short hikes that lead to something beautiful are always SO crowded. For example, we were on a short hike to see a waterfall in Zion. We were walking single file down the path and the guy in front of me said “It’s like we are in fuckin’ Grand Central Station”. But, we’ve noticed that as soon as you get to hikes that are longer than 3 miles or so, you can appreciate the park, the remoteness, and be away from the crowds. 

We can only imagine that Rocky Mountain National Park would follow the same trend. We drove the entirety of the Trail Ridge Road and make the requisite stops at the view points. We then did these hikes: Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, and Dream Lake, which are all clustered together, and Adams Falls, and the Green Mountain Meadow. This approach, while not our usual one, allowed us to see a variety of features: waterfalls, lakes, meadows, and kept us out of the snow. It was fairly busy in mid-June, but not to the point of walking single file. Have you done any other hikes in RMNP? We went away from our day thinking that a week in the park still wouldn’t feel like enough! 

After our day of hikes, we went to the Stanley Hotel in nearby Estes Park, Colorado. The Stanley Hotel was built in the early 1900s and offers spectacular views of the Rockies. You may know it from Stephen King’s The Shining. Yes, it is THAT hotel. Stephen King even stayed there while writing the book and was the only guest as they were closing for the winter. The hotel certainly proved to be a source of inspiration!  It’s also said to be haunted–so stay at your own risk! 

A friend of mine suggested that we pop in for a drink and go elsewhere for dinner. We should have listened to her advice. We each had a beer while enjoying the views. We ordered food which was really slow to arrive and when it did, we discovered floss in Cas’ dinner. Is floss more or less disgusting to find in your food than hair? More or less disgusting than a fingernail? Who can say. In any case, they didn’t replace or refund his dinner. No bueno, Stanley Hotel. For such a famed restaurant that consistently gets droves of people, this seemed unacceptable. 

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