Go Family Adventure Goes West
Our first stop on our big west adventure was Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park. We live at sea level here in South Carolina, so we walked downtown Denver for several hours to acclimate to the elevation. Denver is perfect for roaming freely, taking pictures, and shopping. We loved the local bookstore downtown. John is a big Denver Broncos fan so we drove our rental car over to Mile High (Empower now) stadium to take some pictures. We also did a quick drive by Coors field. The Rockies were playing later that night so we weren’t able to do a tour and the game started too late for our east coast bodies to stay awake. Besides, we needed to keep moving to stay on track.
We stayed at Best Western Plaza in Longmont that night so we could have access to the park the next morning. We went up through Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park and did the Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Bear Lake hike. Not sure how ready our bodies were or how far we would make it, we parked at a shuttle parking lot location. When the park is busy, the parking lots fill up and they use shuttle services to space people out. This also help to avoid congestion of people on the trails.
Perfect Day for a Hike in the Rocky Mountains
It was a tough hike, but I’m always so proud of the kids as they take on the challenge. We use lots of breaks and snacks and photo opportunities to recharge. Honestly, Shep thought we wouldn’t make it and we were all having trouble acclimating and huffing and puffing hard. We persevered and it felt so good to conquer the hike we set out to do.
On the return hike out, John almost got mauled by an elk. It scared the kids big time, which reminds me to warn you of the wildlife. They are indeed wild. We are invading their territory and although John and I are very familiar with how to act in such situations, anything can happen. In this instance, we knew there was a young elk calf that was bedded down well off the trail. The mama was keeping guard and was handling things fine with lots of people trouncing past. For whatever reason, John was the last straw. She hadn’t been acting irritated or agitated in any way and we were walking slowly and quietly, but she charged him. It all happened so fast. He escaped without a scratch, but it was a good reality check that we must always be on guard. The kids and I took the long way around the trail to avoid any more unnecessary run-ins.
Highway to the Sky
Don’t miss the drive up high to the tundra on Trail Ridge Road (highway to the sky) where you will see a whole new ecosystem. Bundle up!! Being in Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park in early June you’ll still find chilly weather in high elevation. Inside the park, you can experience a frozen tundra yet to thaw from a long, hard winter. It was an awesome experience as a family.