From a distance you see the Rockies but you don’t really see them until you are right up next to them. I entered from the southwest corner of the park near Grand Lake. After a stop at the Kawuneeche Visitor’s Center I headed up the Trail Ridge Road stopping at a few of the overlooks.
I stopped near a lake when I saw these two buddies down by the water. The lake was very far away, so they aren’t the greatest pictures, but these are the first two moose I had ever seen.
The skies that morning were very blue, with fluffy clouds and lots of green.
At the Alpine Visitors Center, parking is very hard to find, but I lucked out and pulled in right as someone was pulling out. After touring the educational material and finishing my Jr. Ranger book, I decided to head on a hike up to one of the the highest point.
Coming from the east there is a cutoff on Old Fall River Road, which is a one way road that takes you up to the Alpine Visitors Center, which was the original and only road from 1920 to 1932. But it is still beautiful and I would love to take it someday.
As I’m sitting here writing this posts, months after visiting (I’m just a little behind) I realized that I some how missed the video in at this park and the Jr Ranger book mainly talks about the environment and the ecosystems.
That being said, I do know a little. Rocky Mountain National Park was dedicated on September 4, 1915 about 1 year before the National Park Service is established.
Lastly, if on my way back towards California I am still doing Utah and Colorado. If it is safe for me to get there (weather permitting) I will go back to Rocky Mountain and get some more time in there.
- Montane: lower elevations, warmest & driest
- Animals either migrate, hibernate, or tolerate the climates
- Subalpine: Higher, cooler & wetter, snow in forests well into summer
- Many foodchains can be visible from this area
- Alpine Tundra: trees are gone this high up, windy, cold, & snow can fall into July & August
- Climate change can effect all plant and wildlife here as they are adapted to living in cold treeless environment
- Riparian: Land next to lakes & streams
- This can be land in any enviornment
- Moose are often found here
PEOPLE I MET:
This is the Ranger that presented me with my Jr. Ranger badge.
The Alpine Ridge Trail starts at the Alpine Visitors Center at 11,796 ft walking up to the highest point on a trail to 12,005 feet above sea level. Here are a few things I learned about elevation and how your body can be affected. When in thinner air, you breathing increases and hearts pump faster to supply oxygen to necessary body parts. At 12,000 ft each breath gives you 30-40% less oxygen than at sea level.
In addition with higher elevation the temperature drops. for every 1000 feet, the temperature drops roughly 5 degrees Farhenheit.
Lastly I read to beware of lightning. There are warnings to not do any alpine trail if there are dark clouds, rumbling thunder or any threat of lightning strikes. When in Alpine terrain, you are the tallest object.
After hiking back down, the weather was starting to get worse and definitely lightning threatening weather. I was still able to stop at a few overlooks before it was raining too hard. One of my first pullouts past the Visitors Center I got the pleasure of seeing a gang of elk.
After these last picture it started to rain a bit more, so I headed out of the park and out to my campsite. Lastly, the picture of my Jr. Ranger badge and souvenirs!
NEXT TIME at Rocky Mountain: I would like to spend more time there, just in general. I went through very quickly and the elevation wasn’t my best friend. That being said I know that there is SOOO much more I could do here and will definitely be back here soon. I would also like to go up Fall River Road.