I don't have all my photos properly organized, but it's getting to be too long to wait. I've had to learn a new system since my computer upgrade, and you know -- it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks! I'll do what I can. (Apologies for some of the pictures which may be fuzzy or washed out as I haven't finished fixing them all.)
After the eclipse in Nebraska, we headed on to Colorado. The first town we stayed in was Sterling. It was quite a drive from Nebraska, and still in the flat part of Colorado. We were happy to get there and get out of the car. The main things we did in Sterling were go out for dinner, and the next morning we went to the quilt shop, Quilts-N-Creations. It was an average shop, not one I would go out of my way to visit, but if one is in town, you might as well visit. (The workers were friendly.) I tried to buy a little something in each shop I visited, because I like to support independent shops and to leave a little bit for the area's economy.
Next stop was Estes Park, Colorado. This was our home for the next four nights. What a lovely drive there, and what a lovely town! Above you see a scene along the road, and then you see the Big Thompson River which flows through Estes Park and a long ways outside of town as well. Back in 1976 they had a huge, disastrous flood there. Over 100 people died. We could see.. in many places there would be no place to run to safety! Now they have signs up: "If it starts to flood, climb to safety." I kind of wonder.. glad I didn't have to attempt that self-rescue plan.
A short drive around the area took us to St. Mary Lake, and one tourist who was climbing on rocks there, whom I photographed while driving past, so it's a rather odd photo. Pretty little lake.
Estes Park is nestled in here, under all these breath-taking mountains. The next two shots are views from our hotel balcony. So pretty! And it was cool, fresh-smelling air which we loved.
Visit to Rocky Mountain National Park:
this winding little road goes up to the Alpine Center at 11,796 feet above sea level. Along the way there are stops for beautiful scenes, such as Chasm Falls.
Approaching the summit.. there is an information center and a retail store with café. See the poles planted next to the buildings? It's so they can find the buildings under the snow at the end of winter.
I found this picture at Wikipedia, the Alpine Center in late May.
We decided to do the "Huffer Hike." It takes hikers up to 12,005 feet above sea level. Well, we were already at over 11,000 and it was already hard to breathe. Just a little bit of walking rendered us out of breath and huffing/puffing. Thus the name of the hike. We had to do it quite slowly to give our poor bodies time to catch up to the low oxygen levels. And.. it got colder and colder as we went up.
Back down to 11-something thousand feet, we went into the retail store where I looked for A. I met her at a retreat in Wisconson; she works for the retreat center during the fall and winter, helping host retreat groups. She told us that during the summers she works at RMNP at 12,000 feet, so I knew this had to be the place. There she was! It was fun to see her. I'm holding up a RMNP t-shirt to prove where we were.
Above are more gorgeous mountain scenes along with a moose who was very close to the road, and some elk (we saw LOTS of elk). We also saw a deer, an eagle (it flew past us pretty close! it had just caught a fish!) and some other cool birds.
This was my thought when taking this next picture: "I would love to live in a place where this is the view that greets me when I come out of the grocery store." It's soooo pretty there! The next photo is an historic hotel there whose name I have already forgotten. The last picture was taken at YMCA of the Rockies. Last year I had tried to get my family to do a family reunion there, but it was shot down. Really, I had no idea, when going to Estes Park, that I would be that close to the YMCA place. It would have been a beautiful place for a reunion and has a huge grounds with many different buildings, some small, some large. Oh, well... at least I got to see it.
I am blathering on for too long, so I'm going to stop here and post a Rocky Mountains Part 2 in the next day or two. Thanks for reading this far!