Rock 'n Rain

It has been pouring rain pretty much since we started heading up the mountain pass leading to Rocky Mountain National Park two days ago. Nevertheless, intrepid rain folk that we are, we set out yesterday to make as much of the day as we could, rain or no rain.  Before we left, however, we had some very important business to take care of.

We had to bring Smitty's little quilt and cushion in from the Catio two nights ago because it was soaking wet. Fortunately, we have a washer/dryer combination, and we were able to dry it until it was toasty warm. Smitty took to that warm quilt like nobody's business. That still left the problem of the bottom platform of the Catio, which had standing water in it by yesterday morning.

We let Smitty use it overnight, and the standing water didn't seem to bother him one bit. He was obviously out there as evidenced by his soaking wet little furry body getting into bed with me a couple of times during the night. Nice.

So Mike drilled nine holes in the bottom platform, which took care of the standing water. We still can't put his little blanky and pillow out, but he doesn't seem to mind one little bit.

We had breakfast at a restaurant yesterday morning, and then drove around town just a bit. We checked to see if the two quilt shops listed in my app were open, and found they no longer exist. In the process, we did find one other shop that I have not yet visited. Maybe today.

After that, the rain had slowed down some, and so we decided to drive the main road through the park over to Grand Lake. We wanted to see the lake, but there was also another potential quilt shop at the end of the road. We hadn't even driven through the gate when we came upon this herd of elk just lounging by the side of the road. There were too many to get in one frame, but I'm guessing there were at least 30.

There was one buck lying with his back to the crowd of photographers, while his harem of ladies lounged close by.

There was one other juvenile male. You can see him and his scrawny antlers on the left side of the image below.

After driving a few miles down the road, we saw this guy scratching his antlers on a sapling, pretty much destroying the sapling. I have done a little research this morning about how to count the points on deer antlers, and this being the west, I'm going to say this is a five point buck. (Impressive, eh?) 

We weren't sure if this guy was with the herd, or whether he was getting ready to steal those ladies away from his less impressive elk brother. Mike was able to get some video of this guy, and if I can get him to spend some time editing it down for size, I'll post it later.

We continued on up the road until we thought we had reached the summit. Mike used his trusty iPhone app to check the elevation.

Now, you might think the view would be fantastic at that lofty height, but you would be wrong. The top of the mountain was shrouded in fog, and we could barely see beyond the barriers.

I was really hoping to be able to show you some beautiful scenery in this post, but alas. Most of my pictures are in shades of gray. We continued on to Farview Curve. The rain had stopped for a little while, and so we were able to see down into the valley to the meadow below.

I zoomed in so that you could see where the headwaters for the Colorado River begin. The actual headwaters are at Grand Lake, but this is the beginning of the river.

We drove on to Grand Lake, a distance of 40-50 miles from the east entrance to the west. Here's what the sign at the lake said about it:

Looking to our left, we saw this.

To the right was this. 

I imagine it is gorgeous on a sunny day, but it was dark and dreary for our visit.

Grand Lake is a typical mountain resort community. There was one main street through town and many beautiful homes. The forest in this area has been devastated by pine beetles. The forest service is hard at work removing some of the trees. We were held up by a flagger for 15 minutes because they were felling trees up the road a bit. He explained to us that there is some question about whether felling the trees makes sense in an effort to reduce fuel for a potential fire. He told us that while the dead needles are still on the trees that it makes sense. After about three years when the dead trees have shed their needles, there is some question about whether it is helpful. In any case, the forest is a mixture of dead and dying lodgepole pines (which are the only trees affected) and every other kind of tree.

We did find a quilt shop in Grand Lake, and I will tell you about that in another post.

For now, I want to say that we had hoped the rain would improve today as was promised in the original forecast we read. That was not meant to be apparently, because it poured rain all night long, and it is still pouring this morning. We have our rain gear with us, and we had planned to do a little bit of hiking this morning. With the rain coming down as it is, even that is out of the question. It is miserable, and it is disappointing to have driven so far to find such crappy weather.

I'm a firm believer that complaining about the weather and letting it ruin one's day is a wasted effort. When it comes to weather, it is what it is, and no amount of whining will make any difference whatsoever. If you read Google news, then you may know that the weather here in Colorado is the top story this morning. To quote NBC News:
The National Weather Service described a “life-threatening situation” in an emergency message issued just after midnight local time for several areas around Boulder, where about 6.5 inches of rain fell in the last 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service.
Boulder is about one hour's drive from where we are presently located. We have considered just leaving, but we fear driving conditions will be dangerous, and so we are planning to stay put for the time being.

I'm updating this post to show you radar images of the rain. Here's what the rain looks like from midnight of last night:

You can see that we are right in the middle of the worst of the storm. This next image is what it looks like currently.

Mike has discovered a leak around the plumbing system in the bathroom. It is not serious, and we can control it by mopping up occasionally, but it will need to be fixed. He says it is an easy fix, but we'll need for the rain to stop before even that can be accomplished.

So that's where it stands. No hiking today. We may drive into town to see the quilt shop we found yesterday, but it seems today is going to be a trailer day. We'll keep ourselves occupied, and a down day can be a good thing. All we can do is hope that conditions will improve, but there is no sign of that now.

20 comments from clever and witty friends:

Mary Kunna said...

Watching news about weather in that area. Praying that you stay safe in your travels. Enjoy the journey.

SewCalGal said...

Sorry you are having to deal with all the rain while on vacation. But you and Smitty sure have the right attitude of making the best of it. Amazed he is so tolerable of rain.

Thanks for sharing photos of the park. Absolutely beautiful.


Cathy said...

It seems like it's been the strangest summer for weather in so many places. Here in Southern Ontario, between the rain and the unusually cool temperatures, I'm calling it the summer that wasn't. Stay safe in all that rain. It's a perfect opportunity to get lots of stitching done.

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

I was in Estes Park 2 years ago over Halloween. Loved this park and seeing your pictures brings it all back! They had received a ton of snow just before we arrived but the temperatures were so moderate. We went snowshoeing one day up a mountain trail which was fun. Such a beautiful area.

ytsmom said...

I was at the quilt store in Grand Lake maybe 4 years ago. It was quite nice. We also had lunch at the Cat Café, or something like that. Is it still there?

Lyndsey said...

Even in the rain the scenery is beautiful. I hope it stops soon and you can get out and do more. Smitty is a real little trooper and seems to love life on the trail. If Picasso manages to sneak out at night and gets wet he loves to snuggle in bed to get warm and dry.

Tami C said...

I've been thinking about you guys all day as I watch the weather and all of the flash flood warnings that are going on. Boulder is in pretty bad shape and they are asking people to stay at home. Boulder Creek is up over the highest it has Ever been. I sure hope that You guys are up high enough and away from any water. Several towns are completely cut off from the rest of the state because of roads washing out. I think they are calling for evacuation up in Big Thompson Canyon. Please be careful! I'll keep you guys in my prayers.

WoolenSails said...

Of course a front will come in, just when you get there, lol. Good for the area though, they do need rain. The views are still breath taking.


Stray Stitches (Linda G) said...

Even though the weather has been perfect, you are still seeing some amazing sights. The 5 point elk was most impressive. Hopefully the weather will clear and you will be able to see some of that gorgeous scenery in bright sunshine.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I've been wondering how far you were from the flooding, hoping that you are safe.

Sheila said...

I have never been to Colorado, so I'm truly enjoying all of your images, even with all of the rainy weather. Take care and have a great time.

Colleen said...

Just watched the news on the flooding, scary! Stay safe and keep the Smitty-kitty entertained.

Carole in Nebraska said...

I've been thinking about you and yours as I hear the news on the horrific rains and flooding each hour on the radio. Stay safe. Prayers are with you.

Brown Family said...

It is too bad that the weather is rainy! I know how much you wanted to be out and about! Hopefully the quilt shop will lift your spirits!

Junebug613 said...

Sorry that the weather is being so uncooperative. I must say that I'm impressed that Mike had a drill on board to fix the catio flooding issue. It's not a tool I would've thought to pack for a road trip, but it will be now! I love the wildlife pics. I like all of your photos, but critters are my thing.

Dana Gaffney said...

Why is the one Elk wearing a collar it looks like "I heart U"?

SJSM said...

Add me to the list of people hoping you didn't get involved in the flooding catastrophe occurring in CO. Glad you had the presence of mind to high tail it out of there! Estes Park is beautiful and on our list, too. Never say never when it comes to where you may be in the future. You could find yourself in the area once more when Mike has a break between jobs. Godspeed to you all.


quiltzyx said...

Even with the overcast, the pictures are wonderful.

Did you notice the 'necklace' on the one elk cow to the right of the scrawny antlered bull? I wonder who is tracking her? Looks like it says "{heart} C" in green.

Mike did a good job putting drain holes in the catio. Gosh, nothing like wet kitty feet on you in the middle of the night!

I really love the steely look of Grand Lake in your shots. Beautiful.

Kate said...

I wondered if you were going to be running into all that rain they've had there.

Those elk are big! Do you have to worry about bears in this park? We saw all kinds of signs about watching out for bears when we visited Glacier National Park.

Judy1522 said...

You still took some great pictures. My son happens to be in Colorado right now and I have been listening to the weather reports about flash floods. I am sure he is in no danger as he is working in Denver but I have been thinking about you as you are out in the mountains.

Your pictures of the elk herd are great. It is always awesome to see them up close and I have never been able to figure out how to count the points on the antlers.