A peak at some of Colorado's hot spots

Trip Start Apr 08, 2005
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Trip End Apr 09, 2006


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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Estes Park

We catch sun rise over the Rocky mountains today, our motel is located in central Estes Park town, right beside a lake so its a really awesome sun rise.

We leave the village early to drive through Estes Park. Access to Estes Rocky Mountain National Park costs $20 for 7 days but the park is closed from Nov-May due to adverse weather conditions ie snow. We were pre-warned of traffic delays in the park, this is usually due to wildlife on the roads. The park ranges in elevation from 8,000 feet in the wet grassy valleys to 14,300 feet at the top of Longs Peak.

Our drive took in some of the park hot spots, firstly we drove the Trail Ridge Road to an elevation of over 12,000 feet. In August, this trail has pink snow which (supposedly) tastes like watermelon, but in actual fact it is actually a concentration of radio active chemicals and has a laxative effect! We didn't try it! Along the Trail Ridge Road we encountered, lava lakes, gorges, glaciers and the Never Summer mountain range. We also met many marmots (a type of squirrel which has adapted to the very cold climate), unfortunately however we don't see any local coyotes, mountain lions or beavers (which are mainly nocturnal animals).

The Trail Ridge Road crosses the Continental Divide (Milners Pass) before winding its way down to the town of Grand Lake. The Continental Divide runs along the crest of the Rockies, from British Columbia, through the United States, and continues southward into Mexico and Central America. It divides the continent's principal drainage. On the east side of the Divide, water flows eastward to the Atlantic Ocean and on the west side, flows westward to the Pacific Ocean.

Estes Park has numerous activities, from hikes to rafting to horse back riding, its a really spectacular place to visit.

We take a quick spin around Upper Beaver Meadows and proceed onto Bear Lake (breathtaking views) for a short walk before taking to the highway. The volumes of people are increasing rapidly, fishermen, hikers, families, we get slighly slowed down thanks to a wandering fox, who basically does his own thing. Further on the highway we are stopped due to a herd of deer who wish to cross the road.

Our next destination is Colorado Springs.

Our first stop is the Garden of the Gods, which are towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak mountain range. The rock formations are in various shapes such as, kissing camels, siamese twins, a sleeping giant, feet, keyholes, cathedrals etc. We spot a fish amoung the formations, although the fish was not highlighted in any brouchers nor identified by park rangers! A very heavy thunderstorm delayed our visit to the gardens - there was spectacular fork lightning and hailstones as big as cherries! The rain caused streams of red water, red due to the sandstone formations. Afterwards however we partake in a short hike along the Siamese Twins trail, Ad wins the race on the return leg, somehow Fergus manages to get lost along the way... wonders will never cease!! :)

The bad weather ensures that we opt out of driving the 20 mile Pikes Peak drive. Pikes Peak provides a stunning backdrop to Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods. Although Colorado Springs is open year-round, as it does not get the fierce weather as in Estes Park, instead CS does experience afternoon thunderstorms.

Le Maison Jar in Manitou Springs in our choosen destination for dinner, it is a very quaint family run restaurant, where they serve their drinks out of jam jars and all of their meals are home made.

We visit Seven Falls after dinner and ride the in-mountain elevator 140 feet to view the seven falls. The falls are located in South Cheyenne Caņon, the falls cascades 181 feet in seven distinct steps down a solid cliff of pikes peak granite. It is supposedly the
"Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado" but we are not overly impressed, it is wildly overpriced, and although it's quiet unusual, it's completly uncomparable to Niagara or Igassu Falls, both of which were free.........almost.
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Comments

claire_smyth
claire_smyth on

hiya!!!!
Hiya!
I finally got myself logged to this feckin thing!
Just had a quick look at some of the NZ photos, they're cool!
No news, hope ye having a good time, will talk soon,
Love Claire xx

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