Sitting in Mrs. Miller’s 4th-grade class, we were studying maps and the US. We had been given some 3d topographic maps. As I looked at the map, my eyes were naturally drawn to the mountains of Colorado. As the years went on, I fantasized about Colorado. The massive mountains, vast ample open space, and amount of American History. It would not be until my 9th-grade year when I was able to actually visit them for the first time, and I instantly fell in love with the state
Since that first time, I have been to Colorado no less than 10 times in my life. Each time I go I regain my appreciation for the love I feel for this place.
With every trip to the Mountain state, I find myself in and around The Rocky Mountain National Forrest, and Estes Park. For whatever reason, I’m drawn there by unknown sources. I find peace and solitude when I’m there. One of my favorite drives is from Estes Park to Grandby, Co via RMNP. The vast amounts of beauty are so abundant that each trip I take in something new. The east side of the Alpine Visitors side one will encounter spectacular views of snow covered peaks, steep, deep canyons filled with wildlife and incredible views at various rest stops. However, standing at the Alpine Vistors center looking north, nothing compares. From here I can see multiple mountaintops and the vast amount of untouched wilderness. Almost everytime I have been here, snow has dotted the landscape.
The drive along highway 34 through the park is not for the faint of heart. Along the road, a small two-lane road, winding through the park, is the only major road through the park. Along the way on several occasions, there are no barriers. So for some, the heights can be a huge concern.
On the western side of the visitors center, you will pass over the continental divide. However, at this particular location, even though beautiful, it’s not as grander or amazing as other locations I have seen. Here you can also see the start of the Pewter River. A river I have had the opportunity to raft farther downstream.
Further west on 34, Lake Irene picnic area is a must. Enjoying a quaint picnic here one will see wild rams, elk, rabbits and possibly deer. Afterwards, a small hike along the path to lake Irene is another must. The trail continues for about another mile past the lake and ends at a magnificent view of open prairies and mountains. On a few occasion, I have seen danger close to elk, so take caution along this hike.
Once you leave the park and enter into Grand Lake, another world of possibilities exist.