Day Trip to Rocky…..

Small but vigilant scout
Small but vigilant scout

     Early Monday morning a friend and I left Loveland and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a short drive of about twenty miles and I always take the scenic route through the town of Glen Haven. It is a gorgeous drive.

     Traveling though the Big Thompson Canyon is always a special event, with its tall, jagged, cliffs jetting into the sky above you and the flowing waters of the Big Thompson River running below you. 

     Most times, driving this canyon, one will get a glimpse of a few Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep grazing on the sides of these steep, stone walls, but on this trip we did not spot any.

     As you drive through the canyon there are many places to pull off the road and enjoy the scenery and the smoothing sounds of the rapidly flowing river, especially this time of year with the spring snow melt raging downstream.

      It is relaxing to stand by the river, close your eyes and listen to the sound of the water as it searches it way over, around and even under boulders that are in its path as it traverses down the canyon.

      Fly fishers (men and women) {Smile} come to the waters of the Big Thompson from all over the world to cast their lines hoping to snag a Rainbow Trout. It seems so memorizing observing a person out in the middle of a stream, dressed in waders and all their waterproof clothing, casting their long lines back and forth, back and forth. I will have to try to photograph a fly fisher person.

     As we left the canyon having traveled through the little mountain town of Glen Haven we  crested the last hill and descended into the valley toward Estes Park. The Rocky Mountains, with their snow covered peaks, are what you see first. As your eyes adjust to seeing these magnificent mountains you can then and only then take in the beauty of the valley as it stretches out in front of you.

     Mountain Blue Birds call this area home in the spring and summer and you will usually see them sitting on a fence post or flying up to catch a bug. I did not get to take a photo of one, but next time….

     This year we had two late-spring snow storms that took a told on the Mountain Blue Bird population as they were migrating through the area. People were reporting large numbers of dead birds in their yards. One lady had twelve. My husband and I found two in our yard.

     Leaving the valley, heading to the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, we had to make an immediate u-turn. We had spotted a huge, bull Elk along the side of the road and decided he would definitely be worth a photo or two. One can imagine, or maybe not, spending the winter at or near 12,000 feet. This poor guy was looking exactly like he had experienced a harsh winter – a little ragged with tuffs of fur hanging in clumps off his body; however he still was wearing his beautiful felt-covered antlers. He was having a mid-morning snack at a backyard bird feeder. Good for him.

     We finally entered the park. As we drove and hiked around experiencing the serenity and wonder of this national park, as on this day and with every visit, it did not fail to bring joy to my soul and deep appreciation for the beauty of nature.

     The highlight for me, this visit, were the two dueling male Broad-tailed Hummingbirds defending their territory. Each surveying their world from the high perch of their own pine tree. High into the air they would fly, soaring downward and then back up just as you think they are going to crash into the ground. Who is the bravest?

     We drove the twenty miles back home with wonderful memories and meaningful impressions of a successful and fun day visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.



5 thoughts on “Day Trip to Rocky…..”

  1. We have not been to Rocky Mtn NP in many years so many thanks for the tour. Your photos, as always, are a welcome sight…lovely! 🙂

    1. Hi LuAnn, I hope you are having a great day. It is just lovely here in Colorado today; very mild temperatures. I have all the windows open! Maybe on your way west you can stop and enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park again. Come off season! 🙂 It is beautiful and we don’t get up there enough. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    1. Hi Michael, thank you very much for posting and your kind words. It is always fun to find like minded people. It seems we share a love for nature and birding! Sheila

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