Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Uraling and hiking with my family in the Rocky Mountain National Park

This past Sunday was the final day of our stay in Estes Park, CO as we visited the Rocky Mountain national Park (RMNP).  The day before, Saturday, had been spent riding up Fall River Road (dirt road that spanned part of the park before the advent of Trail Ridge road; and also riding up and down Trail Ridge Road to and from the tourist town of Grand Lake, CO.

Sunday however, the main objective was to do some hiking from the Bear Lake Trailhead, as a family.  We rose early, had a quick bite and coffee and rode to the Bear Lake Trailhead's parking lot before it filled up for the day.  Note:  the parking lots for all the trailheads seem to fill up quick on nice days like we had this past weekend, get there early if you can.

You get to Bear Lake Road via the Beaver Meadows Ranger Station off of US36 and CO66 junction.  You "bear left" soon after transiting the Ranger toll booth and soon your twisting and turning your way on a two lane paved road through heavily forested areas.  At the end of the road is the trailhead's parking lot and this magnificent view of Flattop Mountain:

The view from the Bear Lake Trailhead Parking lot

A closer view of Flattop Mountain

I parked next to the family minivan and used it as a storage point for my riding gear.  Once all four of use were ready, we walked up to the starting point for the trails.   We elected to try the Alberta Falls hiking trail as it was about 1.1 miles to the falls.  I have to say, next time, I'll wear hiking boot, my Oxtar motorcycling boots did fine but there was some "slop" in the boots.

The trails run through thick pine forests so you're in the cool shade most of the time.  Still, even in the coolness of the shade we soon were shedding our outer layer.  We walked with no rush, allowing the boys to climb the occasional rock as we came upon it.  There were other folks on the trail but you didn't get that crowded feeling at all.

After a slight climb, we finally got to Alberta Falls, we'd been hearing the roar of the falls for quite a few minutes beforehand and had been anticipating viewing the fall for several turns in the trail.  Just before the falls, Miles aka Thing Two engaged this squirrel in a "staring contest" where the object is to see who blinks first:

Staring Contest!

The squirrel won by the way.  These suckers act quite unafraid of the hikers, I think previous people have ignored the "no feeding the wildlife" signs and caused these squirrels to act like beggars.

The Winner of the staring contest

A few more feet and we were at the Alberta Falls, and they were quite the sight.  Yes, they are worth the short hike by the way.

Alberta Falls

The Chang Gang at Alberta Falls

I decided to walk up further to the top of the falls to see what was there and the boys came with me.  Martha decided to sit it out at the falls and enjoy the scenery at that level.  The climb was not hard at all, mostly making our way up through the many boulders and rocks.  We got to the top and saw this:

At the top of Alberta Falls

The boys and I rested for a bit and then headed back down to rejoin my wife.  We elected to return by the way we'd come and took the shortcut to the free bus shuttle by Glacier Gorge trailhead.  You see, the return trip back to Bear Lake would have been uphill most of the way and we're just not the energetic type of hikers!  : )

 Downstream of the Alberta Falls

A short wait, with bathroom breaks worked in, and we got onto the pretty full bus for the short ride up to the Bear Lake Trailhead and our vehicles.  We broke for lunch at the minivan and watched as latecomers in their cars searched sometimes in vain for parking space.  Did I mention you have to get there early?

After lunch we went back and chose the less than one mile hike around Bear Lake.  It's quite the nice lake and the path around it is well maintained and mostly flat.  The predominant terrain feature, besides the lake itself is a nice view of Flattop Mountain.

The view of Flattop Mountain from Bear Lake

Marthacam: Did I mention Miles likes to climb rocks?
Marthacam: Bear Lake
Marthacam: Bear Lake

It rained light on us briefly as we circled the lake, quite refreshing actually.  Soon enough we were done with the hiking and I geared up once again for the ride home while Martha got the minivan and boys ready for their ride home.

Here's some of the sights both Martha and I saw on the way out of the RMNP:

Marthacam: Near Moraine Valley

Near the Moraine Valley

We both took the CO7 route out of Estes Park since it was more scenic being as its part of the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway.  Road conditions were good, traffic was light and the weather was warm, it would get quite warm as I got to Denver.

Natasha on CO7 with Long's Peak in the far background

Natasha on CO7 with Saint Malo's Church in the background

I made it home by 3:30PM, my wife and sons having arrived before me by about 30 minutes.  Less than 300 miles of riding all weekend but I felt a bit tired nonetheless.  Natasha however did great!  No issues except for some minor backfiring when doing engine braking.  I hoped you enjoyed the photos of the trip to the RMNP by myself and my family.


Emilio Scotto said...

Thank you my friends for adding my story on your web page. At this time of the year I would like to send you all the best for 2017.
Emilio Scotto

Emilio Scotto said...

Thank you my friends for adding my story on your web page. At this time of the year I would like to send you all the best for 2017.
Emilio Scotto

Charlie6 said...

You're quite welcome Emilio Scotto....