Aspen Ridge Trail, Colorado, colorado national monument, Denver, elks., Estes Park, food, Glenwood Srpings, hiking, independece rock, Loveland, National Parks, photos, polish cuisine, road trip, rocky mountains, Trail Ridge Road, trails, wild life
We always wanted to visit the beautiful mountainous state of Colorado. Colorado is a Spanish word for the color Red! This Columbus day, we finally embarked on our vacation which turned out to be an exciting journey experiencing all four seasons on a 1000+ mile drive across four different national parks.
A well fed wife is always a happy wife! Keeping this mantra in mind, we had packed sandwiches for breakfast and also finished our lunch before we entered the Rocky Mountains. This was the Elk mating season and we were hoping to see some Elk action in the meadows but ran out of luck! After several minutes of straining our eyes to catch a glimpse of at least one of them, we decided to leave the Elk’s alone and continued our journey on the Trail Ridge Road across the Rockies. To drive on the Trail Ridge Road is like to leave this world and enter another. It carries you, breathless in wonder and altitude, towards a fragile Alpine realm, the Tundra. We recollected the 6th grade geography lessons about Tundra and Taiga and had a good laugh. The trail ridge drive is very scenic. We stopped at various places to capture the views before finally reaching the Alpine visitor center at the summit. There was a half a mile trail from the summit to experience the effect on thinner air on your body! Half a mile looked like forever and wifey cherished that moment of reaching to the top!
On our way down to Glenwood springs, as we were exiting the Rockies at dusk time, there was a treat waiting for us! All of a sudden an Elk jumped out from the woods in front of us. Panicked, we pulled over and waited patiently till it took its own time to cross the road. Few minutes later, we saw a huge herd of female Elks in a meadow, waiting for their man! We were even fortunate to hear the “mating call” of the male Elk summoning 40-60 females. That satisfied our Elk viewing desire and then we continued to Glenwood Springs.
GPS lady tried to navigate us via an unnamed unpaved 13 mile road in the dark, which was gated! I don’t think I am still at a stage to have that much of a faith on machines and automation and hence decided to take a well defined free way (read this as : this was a road trip with wife sitting besides me and not a group of bachelors)
Colorado national monument was on next day’s agenda. We started early and drove west to reach the park by noon. Colorado national monument is a treat of magnificent views stretched from sheer walled canyons and towering masses of naturally sculpted rocks due to soil erosion. The huge flat topped mountain is the Grand Mesa and the most famous attraction is the Independence peak. It is mesmerizing to see how water and air can erode huge mountains to create these formations. Colorado national monument is nature at its best!
As we stood staring at the independence monument, wondering how many millions of years nature must have taken to give it it’s current unique shape, we noticed an elderly couple, may be in their 80s, also lingering at the same spot. We overheard the grandpa, dressed in an “english gentleman” ly manner asking his wife if she would like to climb the peak! To which the she chuckled and replied “I was thinking may be on our next visit!” 🙂 Such a cute couple deeply and madly in love even at an age of 80!
Back at Glenwood springs, after having delicious Mexican cuisine at the Tequila’s we decided to spend some quiet moments alongside the colorado river. The Hanging lake trail is a strenuous 1-mile hike up the mountain. It was already dark by the time we reached the base and hence could not make it! It will remain on our bucket list. Polish cuisine for dinner made up for what we missed! After a sumptuous dinner, we cuddled up in bed, getting ready for the next adventure.