Archive for the ‘Rocky Mountain National Park’ Tag

Living at the foot of the Rockies; tour guide

I took this photo from a trailhead in Loveland, looking west towards the Rocky Mountains while hiking on what is called, The Devil’s Backbone.

 

Looking west towards the mountains from River’s Edge Nature Preserve, Loveland, Colorado

 

A view of the white water rapids of the Cache La Poudre River northwest of Fort Collins after a heavy rain storm.

 

 

Our city is one of several along the front range of the Rockies where roads and highways leading up to Rocky Mountain National Park are most often congested with the traffic of tourists going up in the winter months to ski at popular ski resorts, or in the summer to hike the trails,  ride the white water rapids or just to enjoy the changing colors of autumn. After the summer months the bright golden hues of the Aspen trees cover much of the Rocky Mountain slopes before the first frosts. Estes Park, a town at the foot of RMNP is a popular tourist destination throughout the year. We have an abundance of hiking trails and mountain and water sports to choose from living along the front range with an often unpredictable swing in temperatures and climate.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/tour-guide/

Joyce E. Johnson (2018)

 

Christmas in the Rockies

Longs Peak, RMNP, 14, 259 foot elevation, second tallest peak in Colorado.

A view of RMNP peaks off Trail Ridge road.

Lower elevation at the foot of RMNP, a clearing where herds of elk are usually seen grazing. Towards this time of night at sunset hours they will hunker down for the night. The sun was just beginning to go down, and the skies lit up with soft hues of pink and orange. These clouds seemed to descend down upon this peak, and I thought it was an awesome sight to photograph.

Elkhorn Ave. and The ‘Old Church Shops’ in Estes Park lit up for Christmas.

A view of the southeast side of  Estes Park. Notice the large star lit up on the side of the mountain.

 

Sometimes the Christmas season gets hectic with the business of shopping, decorating, program events, parties, and family gatherings. There are times when things came too soon and hurried right after the Thanksgiving Day holiday and often just having a moment to sit and relax with a cup of hot chocolate and a favorite Christmas movie seems like a luxury I don’t have or take time for and regret it later.

But, through the years we have tried to keep a few favorite Christmas traditions and even started new ones as we tried to prioritize what meant the most to us. Things like going up to the mountains to cut and collect our own greenery and pine cone branches to make our own wreath was a favorite event. Browsing through Christmas shops and antique stores to find a new Christmas ornament or antique toy to place under our Christmas tree was another.

But, our favorite thing is to just drive up to the mountains during the holidays and spend the day exploring the territory. This year we went up to Estes Park that sits at the foot of Rocky Mountain National Park, then drove up part way to Trail Ridge road. After the first snow storms of the season they close the first gate to the higher elevation areas when snow cannot be cleared and it becomes too dangerous to pass or drive through safely.

I took these shots above this last Friday (12-15) when we went up with our dog, Maggie, had a bison burger and fries at a favorite place and walked around town in Estes Park on our way down before returning home. Making a day of it makes it a special memorable outing. Colorado has not seen too much snow this season thus far, so it is pretty dry along the front range except for brief snowfalls in the higher elevation. Snow skiing is a very big sport industry here in Colorado so the ski slopes are waiting anxiously for some really good snows that keep them busy into spring. But, for those of us who are happy to find just enough to tramp through the white covered ground in brisk temperatures, and see Christmas lights glimmer off its white sheen it is enough to make our day.

I hope your Christmas will be merry and bright, memorable and special. Merry Christmas to all.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

 

The road I travel…

Trail Ridge road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, (12,000 ft. + elevation)  photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

The road I travel; it is not my own,

for the road I travel I don’t travel alone.

There is one who walks with me

wherever it leads, whatever befalls.

My path though not straight and winding it be

around the corners in life He leads.

Though storms may come, and

the challenges great; He walks beside me,

and I shan’t turn back, for oft will I feel

arms lifting me up in tender embrace,

and I’ll not worry what hampers my way.

The pebbles; they scatter,

and the winds grow still.

For with Him I’ll not wonder

who leads, but follow.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Footnotes: I took the above photo of my husband and dog walking along the road on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, above Estes Park, Colorado. At the time I took this photo this section of road was closed for the Winter season. We parked at a pull out and walked around the closed gate and up the road some before the expected snow storm forecast for the following day. The photo was my inspiration for this poem. I am so thankful and grateful that whatever happens in my life God is always with me in every situation in life, whatever I do and wherever I go I am covered under His grace. I wish everyone out there a very Happy Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Sunset on Trail Ridge Road, RMNP

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Trail Ridge Road – Rocky Mountain National Park (June 2016)

The drive up Trail Ridge Road in RMNP is paved clear to the summit. The meandering, steep climb winds through forested thick stands of Ponderosa, Lodge Pole pine, Douglas fir, Juniper, and Spruce. Snowfalls, blizzards and drifts can make the drive treacherous any month of the year when a storm front moves in. I have been up on Trail Ridge Road in July in the middle of an unexpected snowstorm and blizzard that was not forecasted. The gates positioned at halfway and three-quarters way up are then closed to all traffic, except for snow plows.

About three thirds of the way up is the last major overlook with a paved path leading out away from the road about a quarter-mile to a viewing platform of loose rock, boulders, and tundra. The tree line is below the ridge here and one can look down and over to peaks stretching for miles beyond, into the horizon. The Alpine  Visitors’ Center is located at the top of Trail Ridge Road at an elevation of 12,000+ feet. Longs Peak at 14,000+ ft. sits in the middle of the mountain range, viewable from this vantage point.

We parked, walked the path out to the viewing platform and waited for the sun to make its slow descent over the peaks. It was dusk and the chipmunks and marmots played and scampered about on the rocks and tundra beyond the overlook viewing platform. It was another hour before we could get these pictures at about 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. During that time we watched the clouds dissipate, form again, change and move. It is an amazing sight to see the way the clouds change in the process with colder misty ones forming below the viewing point. We took a number of pictures during our wait. These are only a few of our favorites.

For more information on Trail Ridge Road and Rocky Mountain National Park, you can find it here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_Ridge_Road

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Rocky Mountain National Park – 100 years

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This year (2015) marks the 100th year since RMNP opened and declared a national park in 1915. We live in Loveland which is only about thirty miles from the park entrance and every time we go up we are in awe at all there is to enjoy and photograph. Longs Peak (14,000 + ft.) and other mountain peaks, their majestic beauty, the wildlife, and wonders of nature and environment always makes us so thankful for what we have in our own ‘neck of the woods’ to the west.

No matter what kind of storms or situations come such as the devastating flood in 2013 that washed away so much of the pristine natural areas  we find that in time nature restores and replenishes all, eventually. Much of it returns and comes back in a new or different way like the re-channeled Big Thompson River. Work is still being done on roads, campgrounds, and monumental markers of significance that was affected during the flood. RMNP and the town of Estes Park has seen record attendance this last summer bringing in the much-needed revenue to fund and support the projects still in construction. But, whatever the storm took from us there will always be the magnificent awe-inspiring mountains that welcomes visitors each year, and us who live near them who never tire from seeing all God has created for us to enjoy.

For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park and the 100th anniversary celebration you can find it here

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

I look upon…

Overlooking the Mummy Range

Overlooking the Mummy Range, one of  the mountain  ranges in Rocky Mountain National Park,  I took this  photo in March, 2014 from  our mountain property, ‘Deer Crest’ in Glacier View Meadows, northwest of  Fort Collins, CO.

I look upon…

I look upon those mountains, high

The peaks beyond the Mummy Range

Where snow glistens under a bright blue sky

Where the air is cool, and the winds blow with song

Across the landscape’s rugged terrain

Through the forests’ trees standing strong

How majestic are those things I see:

They shout their thankfulness and glory;

I too turn my eyes towards thee.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

 

Emerging Rainbows Amidst the Storm


The Big Thompson River, Loveland, CO., a spillway near the walking/biking trail. This photo was taken earlier in the spring when runoff and water levels were normal, before the flood Sept. 12-16, 2013. The trail, bridge and path is now washed out and will not ever look the same as we enjoyed it nearly every day as we went walking along the river here.

The Big Thompson River, Loveland, CO., a spillway near the walking/biking trail. This photo was taken earlier in the spring when runoff and water levels were normal, before the flood Sept. 12-16, 2013. The trail, bridge and path is now washed out and will not ever look the same as we enjoyed it nearly every day as we went walking along the river here.

Emerging rainbows amidst the storm

It has been a whole week since our region, towns and front range along the Rockies has been inundated with flood waters. When the sky is cloudy and overcast, the rain still falling, and the sun not seen for days, one looks, hopes and prays for the rainbow expected at the end of a storm. But, sometimes the rainbow is not where we expect to find it as we have seen lately here. It instead is seen emerging from a window opened to us through the opportunities of a community coming together out of necessity and circumstances, bonding together, mutually supportive of one another through prayer and service. That is what happened here in Colorado with the recent floods, and even through the wildfires experienced here in 2012. The experience draws neighbors and people together that have never met. Friendships are born, and we learn life lessons that will remain with us, hopefully not ever forgotten. The road to rebuilding does not stop with the tangible ones we took for granted on all our trips and outings up 34 highway to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, to campgrounds and picnic grounds along the way. It is the rebuilding of a part of life for some who have lost their homes to these storms and fires that teaches us all that though the body can grow tired and weary in the process it is the spirit of determination and resolve to move on, remember the past, but not live in it. We will do that here.

Yesterday, I spent four hours along with my husband and other volunteers as we came together to serve and help those who were evacuated from their homes, damaged or lost entirely to the flood. It is during these times, working together that we think how fortunate we are to have a warm, dry house to go home to when hundreds of others have lost theirs, or cannot return because it is contaminated and unsanitary with affected, polluted water, the same water that looked so clean, calm and peaceful when I walked the trail along the river with my husband and dog just a few months earlier, nearly every day. Now there is a major highway, roads and bridges washed out, walkways, bike trails and landscaping, prairies and farmland completely flooded, altered, damaged and changed that will take months or years to rebuild. But, it is the work we can do with our hands, smile, offer a hug, and a prayer that helps another. It brightens their day, as it does ours. Those are the rainbows we see, and it is enough for now.

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Photos by:  Joyce E. Johnson


Flood water from our Big Thompson River flood, Sept. 12-16, 2013

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This is a photo I took from a street overlooking the same walking/biking trail we took. The heavy steel bridge that crossed it to another side of the river is now gone, completely washed out by the force and current of the Big Thompson at flood stage. The last big flood before this one that did much the same damage, but not as bad was in July 1976 with over 100 people killed.

Flood water from our Big Thompson River flood, Sept. 12-16, 2013

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