Saturday, September 17, 2016

Rocky Mountains Day 4 // Our Last Day

Part 1, 2 and 3 can be read here: Rocky Mountain Trip Day 1 // Colorado Bound and here: Rocky Mountains Day 2 // Hiking and Horseback Riding and here: Rocky Mountains Day 3 // Old Fall River and Trail Ridge Roads


Early in the morning on our last day in the mountains, we were busily packing everything up and loading the car. Excited to begin our adventures of the day, but a little sad to know that we would also be leaving the beautiful Rocky Mountains in not very many hours. We had really loved our time so far! The days had been so packed full that it felt like we had been there longer than just two days. :)

And this last morning was going to be full, too! We headed out into the beautiful morning as the sun was spreading its golden rays across the valleys and mountains. Shortly after entering the national park, we saw a small herd of elk right next to the road . . .

A bull, cows, and calves

Lounging in the morning sun . . . notice how he only has one full antler? The other had broken off near the base.

We continued on our way to the Bear Lake Trailhead again, only this time, we were going to take a different trail than we had before . . . the one to Alberta Falls. We were both really looking forward to this!

On the way, we made one more stop for wildlife when we saw these two Mule Deer does . . . .

Happily browsing right next to the road

A beautiful morning in the Mountains - we were blessed by having lovely weather our entire visit

Once we arrived, it was time to begin the short 1 mile hike to the falls!


Since we were out fairly early, there were very few people around, though as we were taking our time enjoying the sights along the way, eventually some other hikers caught up with us.



The groves of Aspen trees were really pretty

The trail comes up close to the road for a brief bit and look what we spotted through an opening in the trees . . .    another bull elk and cow . . . .


Then we realized there were more right close to us in the trees! As in, maybe 15-20 feet away. It was so neat to see them up so close! Though with the Bull Elk right there, too, we were cautious as this big animal can be unpredictable. As we watched the Elk, there grew to be a little crowd of people around us who were able to enjoy them as well . . .


One of the cows and calves . . . isn't the calf adorable?

The cows and calves moved on, and then the Bull Elk crossed the path right in front of us, too, and continued on into the trees . . . .

What a beautiful animal!

Once they had ventured a ways into the woods, we continued on . . .



We really enjoyed this hike and had so much fun together! Talking, laughing, stopping along the way to enjoy different sights and sounds . . . it makes me smile just thinking about it. :)



As we walked, we could begin to hear the sound of the water and smell its freshness . . .

Looking way down to the water flowing below . . . we're getting closer to the falls!

Before long, there it was . . . the beautiful Alberta Falls.


Leah taking a photo with her phone to send to Dad and Mom




I loved being down by the water, climbing on the rocks, listening to the water, and thoroughly enjoying it all!


We spent quite a bit of time here soaking it all in and had a lot of fun climbing up the rocks to the top of the falls . . . .

Climbing higher!

Leah on her way up


The top of the falls

A fun couple took our photo for us here. We ended up talking with them quite a bit, including when hiking together for awhile later on down the trail.

The sign for the Falls (and where this trail ends) . . . where we had climbed up to was the rocks in the top of the photo.


The sun was rising higher and our time left in the mountains was slipping away, so we made our descent and drove over to Sprague Lake . . . .

 I don't think I could ever tire of views like this!

It was gorgeous there! We loved our walk around the lake, though there was a bit of a subdued air as we both knew it was our last walk in the mountains. While we made our way around it, we kept an eye out for Moose as occasionally they are spotted here, though we didn't see any.



Farewell Rocky Mountain National Park!

As mentioned in the earlier video, a couple we had talked with had seen Bighorn Sheep at Sheep Lakes that morning, so on our way out of the park, we stopped there one last time hoping to see some before we left. We scanned out across the valley with not an animal in sight.

Then I turned around and what should I see up on the hillside, but a herd of Bighorn ewes and lambs! They were so neat to see! Slowly they ventured down the hill, across the road, into the valley below, and then headed to the lakes to lick the mineral.

One of their brief moments of running. The little lambs were so cute!

Across the road and heading to the mineral lick

Eventually, the time came when we had to leave the park for good and begin the drive home. We had planned to split the return trip up into two days, stopping over somewhere in Kansas for the night.

Making our descent out of the mountains

One of our last looks before the mountains faded from view

As we drove, Leah and I had a lot of fun talking about the last few days and enjoying the beautiful scenery. We decided to try to get a little further home that first day than originally planned, but as we didn't have a good hotel picked out for there, Dad and Mom were so thoughtful to look online and find one and then make reservations for us. So when we pulled into the parking lot at nearly dusk, a nice room was all ready and waiting for us.

We ended up staying up late that night looking at all the photos, watching the videos, and reminiscing! What a very special trip we had together as sisters! We SO loved our time in the mountains . . . but most of all, we loved being able to enjoy it together.

At Dad and Mom's great suggestion, the next day we made a bit of a detour and drove southward to Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Refuge in Kansas. It was pretty there! And we saw quite a few different bird species . . . .


Cattle Egrets by some cows

After a couple of hours there, we headed out one last time eagerly anticipating arriving home . . . .

Leah filling the car up with gas . . . again. :)

And finally . . . back to our home state!

We were very thankful we had the opportunity to take this trip together! The Lord blessed it so much giving us beautiful weather, very special times together, protecting us and providing for us when our car broke down, and much more. It was such a refreshing time to be able to get away and enjoy so much diversity and beauty in His creation!

Now we have our hearts and minds full of the many wonderful memories and glorious sights from our time in the mountains . . . plus all the 1,000 plus photos and the videos to continue to enjoy!

21 comments:

  1. It makes me think of Job 12: 10
    'In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.'

    Astonishingly beautiful pictures, Sarah ~ What an amazing place! (places!)
    Glad you had fun and are home safe. You will treasure those lovely memories :)

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    1. A fitting verse, Alex! Thank you for sharing. I am glad you enjoyed seeing the photos - thank you for your kind words about them. :) It is indeed an incredibly beautiful place!

      Thank you! Yes, we will indeed treasure the memories!

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  2. Sadly none of the photos would load for me. My internet service is beyond bad. I enjoyed the story line and loved that you are so happy to be together. God bless and thank you.

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    1. I am sorry they didn't load for you, Suze! Maybe at a later time your internet will be a little more cooperative. :) I'm glad you enjoyed the storyline even without the photos!

      You're welcome for sharing, and thank you!

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  3. What a superb holiday you have both enjoyed. The Alberta Falls are truly amazing.
    I wonder if it is possible for you to put a map up showing your travels?

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    1. It was, Elizabeth! The Falls are certainly that. We loved them! Hmm . . . I'm not sure how I would get a map up here. There is this map online that has on it the places we went to: https://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/maps.htm We were more in the area on the right center. Though Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road go across the top of the map to the left. We barely scratched the surface of all to see and do there!

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    2. Thank you Sarah. I googled the area that you drove and saw the length on a map, that was quite a journey!

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    3. You're welcome, Elizabeth! Yes, it was quite a journey. :) And a much enjoyed one!

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  4. What a memorable trip you've had. Beautiful photos!

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    1. It certainly was, Anne! Thank you. :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing about your Colorado trip! It looked absolutely beautiful and an incredible time. Makes me want to take a family trip to Colorado now. Glad you and your sister were able to do this trip together. Lasting memories for sure! ~Sarah

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    1. You're welcome, Sarah! I am glad you enjoyed it. :) And yes, it was indeed that!

      You and your family would love a trip to Colorado! I hope you are able to go someday. There are so many beautiful things to see and do, and I would imagine your children would really enjoy it and make some great memories. We certainly did when we went there as children!

      Thank you :) . . . the memories are so special to have!

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  6. Sarah thanks for sharing your trip! Amazing pictures and I am so glad you and Leah enjoyed a nice "sisters" get-a-way.

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    1. You're welcome Linda! I am glad you enjoyed it. :) Thanks so much!

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  7. Looks like a lovely trip and awesome hike! :)

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    1. It was very much so, Nathana! We loved it!

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  8. You're so lucky to have eachother and be so close! Looks like a beautiful trip!

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    1. We are indeed really blessed to have each other, Sara. :) I am so thankful God gave me to her as my sister!

      Yes, it definitely was!

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  9. Sarah,
    I enjoyed following along with your travels in this series! What amazing scenery. Though I'm sure it didn't do it justice, your photography of each location and the nature you enjoyed was beautiful. I've never been out west before, though I hear Colorado has "real" mountains, as compared to what we have in VA. ;) Great that you could make those memories with your sister.

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  10. And I also enjoyed hearing your voice narrating the videos - those were an added touch!

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    1. I am glad that you enjoyed it, Hannah! And the videos, too. :) There is indeed such amazing scenery in Colorado! And yes, the mountains are a little more 'real' there than what you have in Virginia. :) They are so majestic and vast! Though yours are beautiful, too.

      Thank you! We're so glad we were able to take this trip together.

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