Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Emerald Isle, Emerald City – How About Emerald Lake??

Not sure how we do it, but it seems that we packed three days into the last 24 hours!

After getting acclimated to our new ‘camping’ spot – with FULL hook-ups – we (Gary) have discovered that the view out our front/picture window is a good one – especially at sunrise – 

Sunrise from our living room window.

Estes Park/Rocky Mountain NP is surrounded by HIGH peaks – the tallest among them being Longs Peak at 14,259’.   While we didn’t hike the tallest, we did our fair share – and had these beautiful views from Magic.

Speaking of the campground – we are staying at Elk Meadow RV Resort, which seems to border Elk territory.  Although, rumor has it that this time of year (rutting season) the Elk can be seen about anywhere – as we found to be true – 

The elk always have the right of way..even without a crosswalk.

The real treat was the herd that presented itself in Upper Beaver Meadow – BIG buck and his harem –
(This picture is only a small portion of the herd.  There were approximately 20 elk.) 

We interrupted this bull's evening meal.

Tuesday we set off on a Ranger recommended hike from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake.  What a treat!  AND, a BIG thank you to our NFS Rangers for providing and maintaining such wonderful trails that allow us to see such beautiful sights!!!

Our adventure began at Bear Lake, which has a gentle .5 mile nature trail stroll around the lake –

Bear Lake

Then the real trek began.  Ahead were three lakes – Nymph, Dream and Emerald – and all the territory in between on the 4 miles round trip beginning at 9,475’ and toping out at about 10,000’.  The pictures will tell the story - 

On our way.

Nymph Lake - big lily pond or small lake?

Short break.

Probably a good sized waterfall during the spring melt.

Dream Lake awaits our lunch break.

The water is tooooo cold for a dip.

The view from our picnic spot - just dreamin'.

Emerald lake..approaching the tree line.  Pines are getting smaller and smaller and you can see the glacier remnants.

 "Y" - MCA

After the hike a little car ride was in order.  Many of the stops along the Trail Ridge Road were not possible in Magic due to the narrowness of the road and very limited parking areas (we still loved travelling the road in Magic;-)!!).  So we retraced our steps to the highest point on the road – 12,183’, which makes it America’s highest continuous paved road – and trekked across the Tundra.  It is written that this is the same Tundra that we experienced in Canada and Alaska.  It is also the same as in Siberia – which we have yet to experience and probably won’t in Magic!!

Views from the highest point along the Trail Ridge Road - 60 degrees and 30 mph winds!!

12,304 feet - VERY scary up here.

All of this activity made us VERY hungry.  Spotting a little BBQ place that was ‘jammed’ on our way back – thought maybe this was the place to eat.  We were not disappointed to end our active day on this note.

Good night – Elizabeth & Gary on a Rocky Mountain HIGH!!

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