Tuesday, October 14, 2014

West to Colorado: visiting Rocky Mountain National Park with my dad

Well, my dad and I finally arrived in Colorado late yesterday afternoon! 

Today decided we had to get out to Rocky Mountain National Park. For as long as I can remember, I've lusted about this national park. Being that this grand wilderness was only about a twenty-minute drive from my new home and workplace at YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch, today's trip would be the first of many. I can't wait to return and explore more and at some point, maybe even backpack.

Compared to dry Badlands National Park where my father and I had spent a few hours just three days ago, Rocky Mountain felt majestic. Our original aspirations were to drive the infamous Trail Ridge Road that connects the east and west sides of the park, winding through numerous peaks between 11,000 ft to a little shy of 13,000 ft. While the western terminus of the road began where we were, in Grand Lake, the road would eventually after some 48 miles take us east into Estes Park. But we faced a roadblock a few miles into the park, the road itself had been closed due to tons of snow in ice...in October! That was a new concept to me.
We walked around a little bit, breathing in this refreshing, cold mountainous air. It was the perfect father and son experience that I will cherish and treasure for years to come. Once I get settled, I'll be back here very often to explore. This is my big beautiful backyard now.
The next day, my father helped move me into the YMCA of The Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch's community housing, in almost a college dorm-like building called Blue Ridge. After that, we hopped back in my station wagon and drove back towards the Grand Lake area. We had planned to park at a trailhead and hike to Adams Falls. The waterfall plunges down some 55 feet into a deep rocky gorge. Following the East Inlet Trail, we were at close to 8,500 ft in elevation with explosive views of nearby Shadow Mountain, Grand Lake, and the distant Grand Valley.  After checking out Adams Falls, my dad and I went and trekked further beyond the falls. We followed the feeder stream back into a quiet patch of woods where I felt this sensation of 100% tranquility. I could sit there all day, reflecting under the towering lodgepole pines.

There's just something magical about this place called Colorado.