Saturday, September 19
Start: Fort Collins, CO
End: Green River campground (NPS), Dinosaur NM, Jensen, UT
A quick breakfast in camp and then we headed up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. On the way through town EVERY motel, lodge, bed & breakfast had a No Vacancy sign posted. We later learned this time of year is very popular because of Fall leaf color and Elk in the park.
We spent the day visiting the Visitor Centers, enjoying the views and receiving my Junior Ranger badge up at Alpine Center, the highest visitor center in the NPS at 11,796 FT.
Alpine Visitor Center
Receiving my Junior Ranger Badge at this place was special. It was here, several years ago, when I saw a ranger giving the pledge to 3 twenty-plus year old males that made me realize adults could do the Junior Ranger programs. And so the adventure began! And no, not every park has you take the pledge, most ask if you want to take the pledge. I usually do, as I believe it is a way to show others that adults are welcome to participate.
Junior Ranger pledge
We have noticed that the higher elevations do bother us more these days; we take it very slow, reduce our caffeine intake in the AM and drink lots of water. The driving was much easier than Yellowstone, even though it was as busy. People did not stop in the middle of the road to view or take pictures of the animals. Of course there are fewer animals, we only saw a couple of herds of elk.
Alpine Beaver Ponds - west side
Once over to the west side we decided to continue driving across Colorado and end the day at Dinosaur National Monument. We followed US 40 through Steamboat Springs and into Utah. It was easy driving, a lot less traffic than along the Front Range of the Rockies and through the park. We were in camp by 6 PM and enjoyed a nice evening. While driving in we saw our first flock of Sandhill Cranes, and heard them flying over the campground into the evening. There was a flock of turkeys across the river from our site and we even saw a small frog jumping under our van.
Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park
- Beaver Meadows Visitor Ctr.
- Fall River Visitor Ctr.
- Moraine Park Visitor Ctr.
- 100 Centennial 1915 - 2015
Rocky Mountain National Park
- Estes Park, CO
- Grand Lake, CO
Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park - Continental Divide Trail
RMNP - Alpine Visitor Ctr, Elevation 11,796 FT.