Sunday, November 05, 2006

05NOV06 Rocky Mountain National Park

Weather: Sunny and windy. Temps in mid to upper 40s in Front Range during the morning, low to mid 30s in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Road conditions great.

Took of for Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Forest this morning at 0845 or so. Got there at 1030 or so. Took E-470 North to where it junctions with I-25 and from there to Longmont and then West on 66 to 36 to the park itself. The lowest temp I noticed while cruising around the park was 32.9 degrees so did not get a chance to try out the ATV hand warmers as the Fox Creek Cold Weather gloves and heated grips held up just fine.

The road to Milner Pass and the Continental Divide was closed for the winter so was not able to go to it. I rode all the available roads that were still open, they were nice and dry. The one scary exception was the last 1/4 mile before Bear Lake trailhead. Going in it was icy but there were wet ruts in the road I could ride in with no problems. Going out, the road was in the shadows of the trees and so what snow had melted and re-frozen solid. There must have been a stretch of maybe 15-20 feet where I am sure I was on ice. Luckily, I kept my head and did not touch the brakes! I just made sure to be going real slow before I got on the ice, kept it in first and just kept the forward momentum going with the clutch and friction zone action. Only a second or so of slippery feeling and then I was back onto dry roads. Wheeew.

The ride into the Bear Lake Trailhead was well worth it though. Here's a pic of the mountain range it borders just before you hit the parking lot.

I think that's Taylor Peak in front of me

Here's a closer view of Taylor Peak and neighboring Otis Peak from the Bear Lake Trailhead's parking lot:

I believe that's the Tyndall Glacier in between the two peaks.

Here's the requisite shot of Maria at the Bear Lake Trailhead's entrance.

Another shot of Hallet Peak and Otis Peak:

Finally, a shot looking West towards the Continental Divide from Moraine Park:

The ride through the park was awesome, not very crowded though the wind did gust quite strongly in some sections of the park. I had a late lunch at Estes Park and was home by 1600hrs. GPS says I did 225 miles today, mpg was 44.46mpg, which is pretty good considering all the cruising up and down mountain roads within the park. Maria performed beautifully as usual.

I took US 36 East back to Boulder and South out of Boulder until I got to I-25 which I took home by way of the Denver Tech Center where I stopped in at work to get some stuff done.

A beautiful day for a ride, the cold never got unbearable with the sun being out the whole time. I am almost dissapointed I did not get to try out the ATV Hand Warmers but am sure some 20 degree days are in my future.

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