Our Perfect Day continues

Rocky Mountain Wildlife

Rocky Mountain National Park

Pika

Our drive continued up Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park.  Hubby and I could not contain our smiles after watching the cute little Pikas darting amongst the boulders and through the alpine tundra wildflowers.

If it weren’t for the high altitude making me feel a tad woozy, I would’ve stayed on that trail all day.

Yep, pull up a chair and watch the Pikas and Marmots scurrying about the tundra!   Yes sirreee, I’m easily entertained.  Al and I could sit for hours and watch wildlife.  So hubby was equally enthralled.

bighorn sheep

We tore ourselves away from the Pikas and continued our journey, but we didn’t get far.  We saw folks with pointed cameras and a couple of park volunteers donned in orange vests standing along the side of the road.  I quickly found a place to park and joined the group.

bighorn sheep

The three male bighorn sheep were magnificent.  The orange clad volunteers directed traffic as well as ensured tourists maintained a nice distance from the animals.  It was clear the bighorn sheep were used to visitors.  They were more interested in munching the meadow grasses than they were in the shutters snapping.

bighorn sheep

Supposedly, the area near Iceberg Pass is a popular location to spot bighorn sheep.

Rocky Mountain National Park

hiking in ColoradoMoving on …. Near the highest point on Trail Ridge Road (12,183 feet – 3713 m), we spotted a herd of Elk in the distance.  We were getting accustomed to seeing Elk in the park, but those antlers were never the less impressive and check out those wildflowers – they sure were pretty!

We took a pass on stopping at the Alpine Visitor Center and continued our trek toward the town of Grand Lake crossing Milner Pass and the Continental Divide.  This marks the location of the direction of water flow.  All creeks and rivers on the east side of the divide flow easterly toward the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean.  Creeks and rivers on the west side of the divide including the Colorado River flow toward the Pacific Ocean.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Shortly after Milner Pass are a series of five switchbacks that helped us navigate the 2,000 foot drop in elevation to the town of Grand Lake.  We found a nice place to stop along the shore of Grand Lake to enjoy our picnic lunch.

Grand Lake Colorado

Grand LakeIt didn’t take long before we were joined by company looking to mooch a morsel.

One of these chipmunks was running across Al’s foot and even started begging.  When we threw him some lettuce leaves he actually had the audacity to spit out my fresh, organic butter lettuce. Then another chipmunk came over and tried the lettuce.  He too spit it out.

“Well guys…. if you were looking for junk food, you picked the wrong couple”.  Al and I have been trying to eat a little healthier lately and feeling much better for it.  Perhaps sometime I’ll post about our Paleo diet, but for now I’ll just say it’s made a huge difference in our overall health.

Grand LakeAfter a very enjoyable lunch, we headed into town to stroll some of the shops.

Grand Lake is a small town that Al and I would visit each winter when our family of four would spend the Christmas holiday near this part of Colorado.  Ah yes, wonderful times.  This little mountain town will always hold fond memories for us….. new and old.

While I made a quick dash to the Ladies room, Al stepped into one of the shops and upon my return, he surprised me with a gift.  You see, my birthday was just a few days away and hubby decided to surprise me with a necklace.

Five years ago I might have questioned his taste … I much prefer a combination of gold and precious gems, but our new lifestyle is so different from that of our suburbia world that most of my fine jewelry was either given to our daughter or sits in storage.  I was almost brought to tears by the lovely sterling silver moose hanging from a silver chain.  A moose necklace; how perfect.

TundraAl and I have been together well over thirty years, and we stopped doing the surprise/gift thing a long time ago and I’m totally fine with that.  As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure it was initially my idea.

Anyway, I found the gift very touching and adding to an already amazing day.  But the cherry on the sundae was yet to come as the guy in the fudge shop (yes, you read that right ‘fudge’.  Chocolate IS healthy and we’ll leave it at that)….. the guy in the fudge shop recommended we drive down Columbine Road if we wanted to see moose, thus off we went.

We drove around the residential neighborhood for about 15 minutes before deciding to call it quits.  We had a long drive ahead of us back to camp and figured we would just have to return next summer to focus on that moose hunting.  I no sooner turned the corner to head to the main road when Al urgently said, “Wait….. look”.

moose
Can you see him?

I glanced between two houses out into the water, and there he was …. the largest moose I had ever seen.  He was standing in the water munching away.  I couldn’t get the little truck pulled off the road and parked quick enough.

moose

Isn’t he gorgeous?  Oh my gosh, this was definitely the icing on the cake, cherry on top, pièce de résistance turning this day into one heck of a perfect day.  Boy, did we hit the Mother load of wildlife that day; pika, marmot, elk, bighorn sheep, and now a moose!

Colorado moose

It was tough pulling ourselves away, but we still had to cross the Continental divide back over Trail Ridge Road to get home to the Glacier Basin Campground.

 

Trail Ridge Road

What a fabulous day it was …. sheer perfection. A day I won’t forget.

Grand lake colorado moose

bighorn sheep colorado

Nature Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park
Wildlife Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots

Two Cents Tuesday Challenge – Silly

Last week we met up with some folks in the beautiful town of Telluride, Colorado.  This famous ski town located in southwest Colorado is full of charm and character…. graced with stunning scenery, fun eateries, plenty of festivals, and frequented by Hollywood stars.

Telluride Colorado
The town of Telluride. Photo taken from the Gondola

Telluride has a low-key vibe and lack of pretentiousness that has Al and me coming back at every opportunity; not that we’ve had that many opportunities mind you.  As a matter of fact, last week will only make our third visit to this awesome mountain town.  The reason for the visit, even though we don’t really need a reason, was to meet up with fellow bloggers Barb and Maynard.

Elk in Colorado
As we approach the town of Telluride, we see a herd of Elk in the distance.
Elk in Colorado
I zoom in on this female Elk
Smuggler's Brew Pub
The main street in Telluride. Photo taken last summer.

Al and I always get a kick out of meeting folks from the blogosphere.  Sometimes we have a vague idea of what they look like, but many times we don’t….. especially if they don’t write a blog themselves.  Then we not only don’t know what they look like but also don’t know anything about them.   However, they sure have plenty of info on us from this blog.

That said, Maynard and I started communicating via email when he realized our travels would be taking us in similar directions at similar times.  He and I set up a date, time, and place to meet – Smuggler’s Brew Pub in Telluride.

Al and I entered the Pub and I was immediately greeted with a “INGRID” followed by a huge hug.  Ok….. I assumed this must be Maynard LOL. The four of us continued introductions and when we realized the Smuggler’s Brew Pub wouldn’t be ready for the lunch service for a while (can’t always believe what you read on the internet), I stepped up to the plate as tour guide.  This was Maynard and Barb’s first visit to Telluride.

I whisked hubby and my 2 blog followers toward the gondola for a bird’s-eye view of Telluride.  The gondola is viewed as public transportation and is free to the public.  (“Hey, Aspen – you might want to take note”.)  Little did I realize, Barb was none too fond of heights or gondolas.  Oops, perhaps I should’ve asked!  The three of us did manage to poke a little fun at her, and she was a good sport, but when I went to open the window…..she was quick to exuberantly exclaim “NO!”, thinking I was going to open the door.  It’s locked, silly 😉

Telluride Colorado
Me behind Barb….she had no idea what Maynard had gotten her into!

After that little sightseeing tour, it was back to the Smuggler’s Brew Pub where the guys imbibed in a brew called “Debauchery”.  Need I say more?  Drinks and lunch were delicious and we would definitely recommend the place.

Telluride Colorado
Maynard being silly

Following lunch, the tour guide reappeared for a side trip to Bridal Veil Falls.  Since this visit was still early in the season, the one lane gravel road up to the base of the falls was closed.  So a long distance view would need to suffice.  Maynard and I had our cameras out and there were lots of joking and silliness going on.  Turns out, hubby and I were Maynard and Barb’s FIRST blogger meet up.  Ta, da….. virgins no longer!

Bridal Veil Falls Telluride
Maynard and Barb on the left – Al and me on the right – Bridal Veil Falls in the background

Obviously, Al and I are working on our social skills; overcoming our shy, quiet, conservative, and introverted ways…….        I know – SILLY!

Two cents Tuesday Challenge – Silly
Of course – I know it’s Friday and I’m posting a “Tuesday” Challenge.  I’m still within rule #4. Perhaps I’ll post a Friday challenge on a Tuesday.  I do live on ‘RV’ time after all  🙂

Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography