Kathy and I just returned from spending a week in Estes Park, Colorado, at the historic Crags Lodge. This is our second trip to the Crags and we really love it. Estes Park is a great town and the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. We had camped there several times years ago with Torey when she was at Colorado State.
We had a great week of hiking that included hikes to The Pool, Fern Falls, Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Bierstadt Lake and Calypso Cascades. We also hiked around Lake Estes in downtown Estes Park. When we totaled it all up it came to about 20 miles of hiking. not bad for us old folks.
The lake hikes are my favorite. There is something about having a tranquil lake scene to observe after a nice hike. Most of these lakes are high country lakes and that means most of the hikes are uphill for the first half. By my way of thinking, this is better than having the last half of the hike be uphill. Being able to sit by a high country lake is the prize one gets for being willing and able to hike three miles uphill. Our hikes averaged from a roundtrip of three miles to about six miles. For several of these hikes we hiked with a group that was also staying at the Crags. We met some great people this way including a four-year old who was a real trooper when it comes to hiking. There was no carrying by her parents involved. People in our group came from Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania. We also made friends with a few of the critters that hang out at people spots and can be rather aggressive beggars.
We took one day off from hiking to do some car touring and found the delightful and beautiful St. Milo Church. The Pope stayed at the conference center near the church and held a mass at the church when he visited Denver in the early 90s.
We also spent several evenings watching the elk in Rocky Mountain National Park. We love doing this and since the mating season is about to start it is entertaining to watch the bulls try and keep other possible suitors away from their harem, at least what they hope is theirs. This is a very high energy endeavor for the bulls and they can lose up to 25%, going from 800 lbs to 600 lbs, of their body weight fending off interlopers. Fending off other bulls includes bugle calls, charging and of course occasional shoving and pushing. The other part of this love dance is the bulls anointing themselves with their own cologne. This fragrance is made from their own urine and applied by either spraying their own heads, yes they can do this, or applying a liberal amount to the dirt and then taking a roll in it. Females are attracted to this and the one who smells the best, could be worst to us, is the winner. The males are also judged by the strength of their bugle calls, the size of their antlers and of course their size; size of their body that is. It is the female who makes the final decision on who the lucky bull will be.
We are already working on plans to return to The Crags next September. We are also working on plans for a backpack trip in Rocky Mountain National Park for next year. This trip involves hiking from the east side of the park up over Flat Top Mountain and then ending up on the west side at Grand Lake. The first five miles or so will be mostly uphill, but after that the last thirteen miles are mostly downhill. We are thinking that this will be a two-night trip although we may stretch it to four so we can explore side trails along the way.
And I almost forgot to mention that I had time to goof off…
Ross and Kathy