Ute Trail
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

Over the weekend, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking and general sight seeing. The Nikon, of course, came along 🙂

We decided to drive around the long way. If you’re into looking at maps, that means we went West on the I-70, turned on to the CO Highway 40 at Empire, and drove over Berthoud Pass. Then we continued past Winter Park (awesome skiing in winter), and past Lake Granby. I just could not believe the sight of a MARINA with sailboats at 8000ft/2500m above sea level. It’s a bizarre sight, and an awe inspiring one. From there, we headed over the Trail Ridge Road into Rocky Mountain National Park. the views from the Trail Ridge Road are astonishing. Astonishing. You will have to have a look at my Flickr stream to see them all. The highest point of the highway is at 12183 ft / 3713 m – not a lot of oxygen up there!

At one of the highest points, there is an opportunity to get out and climb up even further to see the mushroom rocks at the top of the alpine tundra.

All along the paved, clearly marked nature trail, there are signs that describe the fragility of the alpine tundra. The plants there have approximately 40 days a year when they can grow. If they are trampled on, it can take 500-700 years for the flora to regrow. Witness the still clearly visible trail several hundred years later.

Of course, the many, many tourists driving across the Trail Ridge Highway on Saturday didn’t seem to care.  There are signs saying do not cross, rehabilitation area, do not step on the tundra, ALL along the paved tourist nature trail.  And people JUST ignore it.  They wander all over the place, climbing on rocks, running and chasing children over the fragile tundra vegetation.  It just makes me angry.  People can be such morons. No respect for the nature they are so lucky to enjoy.

Anyway, after I was done shaking my head at idiots, we enjoyed the gorgeous view, and continued on to Estes Park and rested up for our hike on Sunday morning.  Which was gorgeous! What an awesome weekend!