After several days of acclimating to the higher altitude, I decided it was time to drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park. It’d been several years since my first visit to RMNP, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
I got to the park pretty early, and discovered that the entrance at Grand Lake was under construction, making for a free entry into the park. Sweet! I talked with a ranger at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, and learned that the paths down to Bear Lake were pretty snow packed still, so I decided just to trek up to the Alpine Visitor Center. Last time I was at the park, I’d done the same thing, but had come from Estes Park, so this was completely new territory for me.
While Trail Ridge Road was clear (although closing nightly at 8pm due to freezing and erosion), there was a bunch of construction going on. Both on the way up and the way down, I ended up stuck in construction traffic. Man, is there a lot of roadwork up there!
I stopped at the Coyote Valley Trailhead, and took a little hike next to a creek. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any megafauna, but I did see a couple of geese. Of course, I coulda seen those in Da Lou! Still, it was a nice hike.
Once again, I was surprised at how much snow there was as I drove up to the Alpine Visitor Center. By the time I’d gotten there, I was driving next to snow that was 6-8′ high. In fact, the park folks were using heavy equipment to clear the snow from the site. It was even cold enough to be sleeting on me while I was there. Pretty dang impressive. It really is like being at the top of the world.
I finished looking around up there, and headed back down toward Fraser to get some lunch. I finally got to Timberline Thai, which did not disappoint. I had some amazing Pad Thai Woon Sen (with shrimp) that rivaled the dishes I get in St. Charles. I’m really surprised to find Thai food as good as that in such a small place!
So, a successful day today. I think I’m gonna head back to Da Lou tomorrow though. Beck’s off to the lake, and I’ve been on the road a week. It’s time to get back on the long drive, and head home.