Rocky Mountain National Park

Good afternoon, my friends. Well, I know I said I was going to take a day off, but here I am late in the day. I wanted to tell you about our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. We had a wonderful day with Carol and David, and we appreciated them chauffeuring us around the national park for the day. It was about 2 hours driving both ways, but well worth it for the wildlife we were able to see.

Right away, we saw this young bull moose. You can see the knobs of his antlers just below his ears. Carol tells me their antlers grow about one inch per day, once they appear.

Just a little farther down the road, we spotted some mule deer.

Stopping at one of the many lakes, I captured this mallard couple.

Also, plenty of Canada geese.

Coming around a bend, we came upon some elk cows grazing. There were no young present.

Carol has had some success seeing moose at Sprague Lake. We parked near the horse stables, and then took this short trail to the lake.

Here's a little information about the area. Sprague Lake is man made and shallow. It's only about four feet deep at its deepest point.

Looking up from the sign, this was the view.

Here's a little information about Mr. Sprague, for whom the lake is named.

We didn't see any moose here, but we walked all the way around the lake. It was a nice hike despite the dearth of wildlife.

Heading on down the road, we spotted his yearling from the road. We parked and wandered about 50 yards through the trees for an unobstructed view.

His mom kept a lookout from nearby. Carol warned me to watch for her to lay her ears back. That would mean she wanted us to leave. She stood watch, but never displayed any aggression. 

Carol tells me when she is ready to give birth, she will drive her yearling away, much to its confusion and distress. She will have her hands full with a new calf, and yearlings need to find their own way. If a cow does not become pregnant, she will allow her yearling to stay with her longer. It's a hard world out there.

Here's another mallard I captured preening himself.

Moving on down the road, we came across a herd of bull elk. They're shedding their coats, and so they look a little scroungy. Their antlers are still in velvet. There were about two dozen in this field.

I was wishing this guy would raise his head, but he just kept munching away at the grass.

Trail Ridge Road over the top of the mountains is still closed because of snow. We drove as far as we could toward the top where we could see this view.

Looking a little to the right, it looked like this:

A man standing beside us pointed out two elk in the valley below. I zoomed way in to capture this image.

From there, we headed back down the mountain and into the town of Estes Park for an early dinner. Also, I picked up some more fudge from one of the many ice cream/candy shops on the main drag. It was a great day, and we enjoyed spending it with Carol and David.

As I'm writing this, we're in the small town of Kremmling, Colorado. I'll tell you about our day's drive in tomorrow's post. We're less than a week away from home, and so our sight-seeing is drawing to a close. There are still a couple of items on the itinerary, so don't give up on us just yet. For now, it's getting to be dinner time. Leftovers are on the menu. It's going to be a relaxed evening.


Barbara said...

Did you know that, pound for pound, the moose is the leanest ruminant on Earth? It's true. Moose are very in tune with their natural surroundings. ~ Daniel Mallory Ortberg

Kate said...

You took some nice photos. Looks like it was a wonderful day for the park visit. Just a week away from home? That sounds like you've got a lot of driving over the next few days. Does it feel like forever since you've been home?

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Wow! What an incredible day of wildlife. You got some amazing pictures. There's been some postings of moose pictures on the local facebook site. Apparently there's one (or more) not too far from here. They're definitely moving much further south.