......they're really that close.
Here's the thing I love about Rocky Mountain National Park (and Estes Park); there's no other place that I have ever been where one can enjoy beautiful vista's and wildlife this up close and personal.
And I never get used to it. I take a ton of pictures, stare and gawk and feel lucky to be there.
We arrived at the campground around 4 pm and found a terrific spot up on the ridge overlooking Moraine Park, where elk were visible. There's just nothing like listening to the calls of these magnificent beasts, as you set up camp, cook some supper or fall asleep. The weather was perfect, around 62 degrees, sunny and clear. We set up the camper and took a short walk, before having some dinner and going to sleep. Several times during the night, I woke to the sounds of coyotes yipping and howling----lots of them and pretty close by.
Saturday was overcast and mild, around 45 degrees in the campground. We were toasty warm in our little home away from home, Brad reading up on which flies to use in which stream and me doing some knitting and reading. After lunch we ventured off, planning to go to the fly fishing shop in town for some intel and new bugs. Along the way we decided to drive up Trail Ridge Road a bit, but instead of sticking to the plan of going up just a little ways, we drove all the way to the top, and into the weather----beautiful, but quite chilly. The visitors center and the gift shop were already boarded up for the winter.
On the way back down, we saw a beautiful herd of elk, the first I've ever seen at that altitude (something like 12,000 feet) at this time of the year. Off the other side of the road, and down about 300 feet or so was a car---emergency flashers flashing. Not a good place to lose control, but certainly not the worst spot, since there are several places along Trail Ridge Road where one would drop into nothingness.
We finally made it to town, parked the van and spotted this group of elk. This little "park" is right in town, steps away from the town hall and public library, less than 100 yards from the main drag. The elk seem totally unconcerned at the presence of people strolling by, stopping to take photo's and such, and while I've seen elk in this same spot before, I don't think I can remember seeing them this close to the sidewalk.
We stopped into the fly shop, and heading down the Thompson Canyon so Brad to try his luck. It was a catch and release area, and he did manage to catch a pretty brown trout, about 11 inches long (so says the fisherman). I was in the van doing a little reading, and missed the photo op. On the way back to the camper, we saw a herd of beautiful white tail deer, at least 4 bucks and several does, barely off the road, and a bit further on we had to stop as there were elk in the road.
Sunday morning we grabbed our breakfast and took it "on the road" just down the hill from the campsite where there was a nice herd in the meadow. Brad did a little fishing while I watched the herd.
We packed up the camper and headed downtown to enjoy the beautiful fall day and some coffee. I have to say, that out of all the Starbucks I have patronized (and believe me, there have been quite a few) this is my very favorite. It backs up to the river that runs through Estes Park, with outdoor tables and a view that rivals a great latte. Yesterday, we opted for the rocks rather than the outdoor tables, and I could easily manage spending a good chunk of time there if I lived more locally.
After a walk through town and a dip into the yarn shop (where unbelievably I left empty handed---I have no idea how that happened), we headed home. Honestly, I wish I could go every weekend, but then that might take some of the fun out of it, huh? I'll save some of the spectacular scenery shots for Friday's.....So stay tuned.
Now, it's back to the mountain of laundry......And I think I hear the spinning wheel calling my name.