Super September Adventure – Rocky Mountain National Park

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Posting by Caroline Seitz

Elk on the golf course, snow in July, and trees that never grow more than a few inches high are all a normal part of life in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

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Elk near a golf course in Estes Park, CO

I flew to Denver to meet up with my longtime friend Lena.  We headed west up into the Rockies.  It is amazing to go from the flat open great plains of eastern Colorado to the high mountains of western Colorado.

We stayed in a beautiful cabin on a creek in Estes Park and spent our first day exploring the town and taking a ghost tour of the famous Stanley Hotel.  I highly recommend the ghost tour to anyone – it was fascinating learning the history of the hotel and some of its haunted secrets.

The next day, after coffee and donuts we enjoyed next to the creek full of trout and fly fisherman, we headed up, and up, and yes, up some more!  We drove all the way to the Continental Divide – over 12,000 feet high!  It was cold, windy, and surprisingly very crowded with other tourists at the Alpine Visitor Center.  I decided between the altitude and the crowds of people – I had to get on the trail soon.

We chose the Alpine Tundra Trail.  At only 2 miles, you would think it would be easy.  But for this girl who had just flown in from sea level, 12,000 feet really made a difference in my physical abilities.

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Tundra Trail at Colorado National Park, CO

It can snow at any time of the year way up here – even in July.  The growing season is only about 6 weeks long and the average  temperature is so low that trees cannot grow here.  There are wildflowers and lichens, and a few insects, mammals and birds.  After our hike to the top of the world, I decided it was time to head down.

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Hidden Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

We had a great lunch and did some more hiking – it was a fantastic experience!  I am so lucky to have a great friend in Colorado.

Next… – Reno!