Estes Park, Colorado

We took off fairly early from Rock Springs, Wyoming, this morning. I can't tell you that the view changed much, but it was early in the day. Things got a little more interesting later on.

It was gray and rainy all day today, totally acing out the back window of our trailer so that we cannot see through it.

We were really glad to be driving this road in September, rather than January, just judging by the continuous snow fencing along the road. I'm thinking there are some pretty tall drifts piling up here in winter.

They ran parallel to the road, and also at a 90 degree angle, just to be sure.

Now here is the mystery of the trip. We have seen this all along the way...a sign directing us off from a coned off lane. 

Then the cones continue on for a mile or more with no indication whatsoever of any kind of construction, damage, or anything at all that would require the lane to be closed. The cones do prevent one from running into the directional sign, however. 

So I'm thinking it has to be more complicated than that, right? Or else, why not just get rid of the directional signs, and then you can get rid of the cones. (Smacks hand to forehead. Now why didn't I think of that!?!)

The signs were the most exciting part of the day...at least for this part of the trip. We crossed over the Continental Divide.

And we passed by the Wyoming Frontier Prison, where we saw these signs.

Hm. 6'0" 180 lbs., and brown hair. I started looking suspiciously at Mike, but then realized that his hair is silver. Phew!

And Hallelujah! We got off the Interstate for the first time this trip! I'm sure I've said this before, but I think it bears repeating, just for emphasis: I absolutely HATE traveling the Interstate! So we went south from here.

And then...we crossed into Colorado. Hooray! 

Yeah, I had a little trouble with the focus on this image. I was trying to get between a pole and that sign off to the left. Thanks to my X-Spurt Photoshop skills, I think you can still read what it says. At least I hope so.

So remember those snow fences I showed you above? In Colorado, they have living snow fences, like in this image below.

I can't say that getting off the Interstate helped the view much, but it started changing a little bit. And, while it doesn't show up well in this image, the road was red.

We were sort of on the hunt for herds of antelope in Wyoming, but we didn't see any until we crossed into Colorado. See them in this image below? 

So, you might be saying to yourself, those look like horses to me. And I would be saying, Ding! Ding! Ding! You win the prize! They ARE horses! I didn't quite get my shutter finger together quick enough to catch the antelope, so I decided to post pictures of horses instead. Now about that prize....... let's see......

Okay, how about an antelope joke? Here goes:

What do lions call an antelope?

I'll just give you some time to think about it. Give up?

"Fast Food" 


And just to make up for that joke, here's a picture of some antelope I stole off the internet. I think you deserve it.

Wouldn't it be fun if people had fuzzy white butts like that? 

Okay, so after we started heading up into the mountains, the scenery changed dramatically.

That's the Big Thompson River, and when we got into the little resort Town of Estes Park, we found it was dammed up to provide a source of water for the area residents.

Behind the dam is Mary's Lake.

We got a little lost on the way to our campground, but eventually found it. Along the way we saw some intrepid rock climbers. We had the feeling this was a class going on.

As for rock climbing, I've always figured if Mother Nature intended me to climb rocks, she would have provided a ladder. Yes, I'm very adventurous.

Okay, so here are these birds that we always see when we travel east. I realized today that they have blue tails. I've always thought they were black before. We have tried and tried and tried to identify these birds. Does anyone know what they are? I'm thinking that those blue tails would indicate a kind of jay.

So we are only a few miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park now. Tomorrow, we will stick pretty close to the national parks book that I like:

I like the one put out by National Geographic. It gives a good "How to Visit" description that we usually follow for the first day. It allows us to stop off at the ranger station, pick up a hiking book, get a little information and then spend the rest of our visit on our own. It's good to get the lay of the land on the first day and then go from there.

So that will be tomorrow's agenda. Today the knee is feeling the best it's felt, and I'm really hoping that will continue. The only time it really bothers me is getting out of the truck. Otherwise, I've been walking without limping and mostly without pain. I think hiking is a definite possibility, and that makes me very happy.

22 comments from clever and witty friends:

sunny said...

I hope I can answer a couple of your questions. I think the birds are probably Magpies. And my sister, who travels through Wyoming frequently, is convinced that all of the orange cones from across the entire country are stored in WY in the summertime!

WoolenSails said...

Big difference in the scenery, would love to visit there, but at least I can enjoy it with you.


Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Seeing your sign made me think of the John Belushi movie, Continental Divide. I think there may have been an escaped convict in that, too (or at least some really strange people).

Michelle said...

We've seen the "Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers" signs, but never with a description of an escapee -- I think I'd check that the doors were locked and speed up!

Needled Mom said...

Estes Park is so pretty. Are you spotting lots of elk there? Be sure to look for the ghost at the Stanley Hotel!

Could those birds be magpies?

Kelsey said...

It's so fun to see you finally reaching my neck of the woods. Living just south of Loveland/Fort Collins, we spend loads of time in Estes. Too fun to see you taking pictures of places we see all the time. :)

Ray and Jeanne said...

So glad you have arrived! The birds are magpies. Hope you see lots of wildlife - a few weeks ago we saw a black bear on the Bear Lake Road. We will leave for Wyoming on Monday - hope they've found their escaped prisoner by then! ~Jeanne

Nancy said...

Yep, Magpies!

My hubby calls the cones with no apparent work being done "barricade practice". Seems there is a lot of that on the freeways in the west.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I love Estes Park. We camped at the entrance to the park across from a welcome center. Bears had been spotted in the area so we had to be careful, although we did have a hard sided camper. It was wonderful there and there was NO humidity, so different from St Louis's drenching summers. We went to town and visited the shops. There was a leather shop with some fantastic purse sales and one where you couldn't go to the back of the store (which was a full glass window) because an Elk had just given birth to a calf and they were nesting there. Then the elk that just roamed the streets. Amazing place! Oh, there's a guy with a hot dog restaurant downtown, if he is still there, he's from St Louis. We loved meeting everyone, they were all so friendly.

Lyndsey said...

The birds are Magpies. We get them in our garden quite a lot. Have you heard the rhythm that goes with them, 1 for sorrow,2 for joy 3 for a girl and 4 for a boy, 5 for silver 6 for gold. Unfortunately I can't remember the remaining numbers up to ten. One of the collective terms for groups of magpies is a'murder' probably because of the noise they make.

Dana Gaffney said...

Finally the view is getting better, congrats! The only thing I know about those barricades is that I'd like to own the company that rents them, our entire road is lined with them even though the work is miles away.

Meg said...

Love the pictures and of course your commentaries.

We have a pop-up that we used to camp with when the girls were little. Estes is one of the places we visited. Are you perhaps staying at the Mary Lake campground? I wasn't too impressed with it at the time.

Love Estes though. Was just talking about Estes this past summer. The scenery is so beautiful.

Looking forward to tomorrow's post.


Brown Family said...

My daughters Girl Scout leader took the troop to Colorado to the Continental divide and told them if they spit in the river (creek) that they would be spitting in both oceans at once.

She now lives in Estes Park and works at the main ranger station. We visited her once and went up that same road! It was winter so we did not get to go too far into the park. She did take us out and we saw a massive Elk herd. Later that evening we saw some in her back yard!

kc said...

Have to agree - you've got magpies, probably Black-billed, long lived, and supposedly very intelligent. (well, smart enough to learn the range of a gun, tho I don't like that they had to learn such a thing) Also highly social.

We looooved Estes Park & got to see lots of fuzzy-butt elk while we were there one September....also snow...lots of snow...that thankfully melted the following day when temps reached in the 70's. Crazy good!

We have to concur - Interstate driving is BORING, but daggum, it does get you there in good time...and it's much easier than watching out for those low bridges, narrow bridges and sharp curves the backroads sometimes throw ya. When you're 13'2" high, 22K lbs, that stuff kinda matters. You know.

Happy to hear you are still uneventful! Keep up the good work! (the traffic cones & lane shifts look to be some sort of forced slow-down mechanism...??)

Marge Gordon said...

Imagine me helping you, well at least trying to after all the others. We drove the same route in 2008 on our cross country trip. I have a whole folder of birds I saw out west and those were a few of the pics in my folder. They are black billed magpies as everyone else already told you. You have a lot of beautiful birds to see yet, not to mention the scenery. To someone from DE where the highest elevation is 60 feet, amazing views to be had out west!

quiltzyx said...

I remember seeing those snow fences on my trip too - and the big swinging barriers to close the roads too! There was still snow on the ground at that time & I had this weird feeling that I would get half-way to the other end & it would be closed! lol

I've seen the "Don't pick up hitchhikers" signs here in CA - but the painted ones - but never the escaped prisoner alert - yikes!

Have you seen any slow elk yet on this trip? (A critter I learned about on my first trip to Idaho as a teenager)
That magpie is lovely. Blue is my fave color...

Tami C said...

I'm glad you guys made it safely to Estes! The Big Thompson River is so beautiful. I know you were really tired of all the barren scenery.
I am certainly happy that you knee is feeling. I hope it continues to improve!

Junebug613 said...

I like the picture of the horses just as much as I would have liked one of antelope. I was just wondering if you have a national parks passport? A friend got me one and I'm hoping to get some stamps in it. They sell them at some of the parks, and you get stamps at the visitor centers. Just a thought, since you travel a bit. Also since you are such a talented photographer, you can submit photos to the national parks website. There are file size restrictions on the photos, but I'm sure you are good at editing.

Dar said...

Beautiful shots of your trip. Got a laugh from your commentary on the side attractions too. Glad you knee is behaving itself and hope that continues. Looking forward to our next journey in CO. I'm sure the temps are a bit cooler than here in St.Louis. We hit a record 98 for today's date. Cooler temps this weekend, though.

Patti said...

I'm sure audiobooks were invented for interstate driving like this. We like great on-the-edge mystery thrillers for drives like this.

Colleen said...

I had to laugh at the Continental divide sign. My mom was notorious on our trip this summer for camera in one hand, iphone in the other to get those sign pictures. We saw the CD sign a number of times and she never could quite get a good picture. There was some language. As I was in the back she never remembered to tell me when a sign photo op was coming so there was a lot of "Got it, oops sorry Col" on the drive. Lol!

Kate said...

Glad you got where you were going. From your pictures it's gorgeous!