Thursday, September 15, 2016

Rocky Mountains Day 3 // Old Fall River and Trail Ridge Roads

Part 1 and 2 can be read here: Rocky Mountain Trip Day 1 // Colorado Bound and here: Rocky Mountains Day 2 // Hiking and Horseback Riding

Wednesday morning we were up early to start the drive all the way up to the tundra. We took the very scenic, one-way Old Fall River Road which is only open the beginning of July to late-September/beginning of October . . . .


The road is narrow, has very steep drop-offs, and tight and steep switchbacks making the drive a fun experience . . . and the views! The whole drive was just gorgeous and Leah and I kept saying how glad we were we took this road!

I was trying to capture in a photo the drop-off's . . . this kind of gives an idea what it was like. There were other places though, that were steeper than here!

Part way up the mountain, there was a place called Chasm Falls that we stopped at. It was lovely! There was a short walk down to the falls and then we could enjoy all of this . . . .




After spending some much enjoyed time there, we continued on Old Fall River Road . . . .

We stopped at an overlook here and enjoyed talking with this couple for awhile, and I took a photo of them for them, too.

What a view!


This Marmot let me get so close to it!

Continuing upwards

This trail goes way up in the mountains, and the beginning of it was so beautiful, I had to run up it a ways just because. :)

A photo from up there. Shortly after this, I met a couple from Missouri and we talked for quite awhile. And then we kept seeing them throughout the day, too, which was fun!

This place was so gorgeous! The colors and contrasts were really striking. 
(When I took this photo, I didn't realize that I was in it, too, via the mirror!)

Looking across the other direction.

In the tundra!


One of the signs here said this hike is nicknamed "Huffer's Hill" because you huff and puff going up. :) The air is quite thin way up there! The elevation at the top is 12,005 ft. above sea level.

On our way up! 
And what looks like the top here is only part way up, the trail goes further than that.

I am probably starting to sound like a broken record, but the views were just beautiful! Many times when we were up here, the words from this hymn kept filling my heart: "When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur . . . then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art!"


Leah on the same rocks . . . we had so much fun up here together! Now on to the top . . . .

The Tundra

Leah pointing out different mountains (based on the sign) which also gave the distance of how far away they were.



Together at the top of the trail - we really enjoyed our time up in the tundra!
(Photo courtesy of a friendly hiker)


The Alpine Visitor Center at the base of "Huffer's Hike"

When at the visitor center overlook, Leah spotted some elk down below. It was fun to then help some of the other people see them with our binoculars! This lady was so excited when she finally spotted them!



Now it was time to drive Trail Ridge Road back toward Estes Park which we really enjoyed! This road had some steep drop-offs, too, as you can see! The poles are so when everything is covered in many feet of snow, you can still see where the road is (though the road is closed to the public mid-October through late-May.)

The mountain views on this road were breathtaking! Despite the cold and wind, we stopped often to enjoy them.


These are the Lava Cliffs . . . it's funny as just before we came around the bend on the back side of these and saw the cliffs, I made the comment to Leah that the rocks looked volcanic. Sure enough, they were! I took a video here, but the wind was SO strong, that that's all you can hear. :) Leah and I were only here briefly as it was really windy and cold. So windy in fact that it was hard to keep our footing at times!

Can you see the mountain lake? 

Leah at another overlook

We loved this place! Meadow and flowers in the foreground, then small, pine-tree covered mountains, and then the mountain peaks.

Another view

After we made our thoroughly enjoyed descent all the way down, we stopped in at Upper Beaver Meadows and walked there for a bit . . . .



Then we went again to the Alluvial Fan . . .


Alpine Fireweed

This time, we spent a little less time by the rocks and water, and instead ventured more into the trees and hills right next to it . . . .







What a really fun day this was! Packed full with many different adventures, such varying terrain from the top of the mountains down into the valleys . . . we so enjoyed everything!

As night fell, we prepared for our last half-day in the mountains. We had one more hike planned plus one more thing, too . . . all of which will be in the next post!

14 comments:

  1. I can't imagine a better way to spend a short holiday. I keep marvelling at the scenery, the mountains, rivers, trees, so beautiful. And how lovely to come down to that calm pretty meadow. Loved the videos.

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    1. It was indeed a wonderful holiday, Elizabeth! Even better than we had imagined it would be. I am so glad you enjoyed seeing the videos and the beautiful scenery . . . it's a bit different than what you have around you over in the UK. :)

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  2. So much fun!! We went up the mtn where you did as well. It is so incredibly beautiful. There was bits so snow when we went and it was super windy that day. This is so much fun seeing everything again. :)

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    1. It was, Nabila! How fun that you were able to go up the same mountain. Yes, describing it as "so incredibly beautiful" is so true! It sounds like you had similar weather when you went as we did. :)

      I am glad you are enjoying seeing it all again!

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  3. Beautiful countryside and the views from the top must have been spectacular!! Looking forward to your next post!!

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    1. The views were definitely that, Linda! It was incredible seeing it all in person. The next post should be coming soon!

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  4. So much beauty in these three posts this far! It would have been very hard to leave, I imagine. And it looks like the weather could not have been better for your time there!

    --Betsy

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    1. There is indeed so much beauty there, Betsy. Everywhere you looked there was something beautiful to see! Yes, it was hard to leave. :) On the drive home, even though we were both looking forward to being home again, we also were saying how we were all ready to go back again, too!

      Yes, the weather was perfect for our visit. Before we went, there had been a rainy spell, but it cleared up right before we went and was warm our entire stay there which was a blessing!

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  5. Sarah and Leah,

    You made a wonderful choice of destination, and I appreciate that I can see this from Australia! That track that goes high up the mountains looks inviting. It's beautiful, and I don't know how you could leave! I can imagine a cabin somewhere .....

    Thank you!
    Rachel Holt

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    1. I am glad that you are enjoying it, Rachel! The track was indeed inviting. :) I was thinking how fun it would have been to spend a day hiking up it!

      Yes, it was hard to leave! If we could have, we would have stayed longer. :) We were glad though that we were able to squeeze in as much as we could during the limited time we were there!

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  6. How beautiful, how magnificent. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. It is indeed, Suze! And you're welcome for sharing. :)

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  7. You are some brave young ladies! What great memories for sisters to have together!

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    1. :) Yes, we made some really great memories together!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)