Last Saturday, my sons, a friend of my oldest son, and I drove to Estes Park for the day, stayed the night, and returned Sunday afternoon.
One has to reserve a slot in the allotted times available to enter Rocky Mountain National Park for the morning and afternoon hours. This was a new protocol for the park since 2020. Before that, you just entered at one of their entrances by paying for a day pass or week pass. I assume this change was done post-covid/2020 when in 2021, everyone seemed to have flocked to the national parks to enjoy nature and breathe in the fresh air.
Well, I didn’t think to reserve our slot before arriving to Estes Park, so we couldn’t get into the park Saturday afternoon. Thankfully, the hotel clerk where we were booked for the night told me that you can get in free after 6 p.m. At first, when we got there around 1 p.m., I didn’t understand going out that late in the day/into the evening to visit the park. We certainly weren’t going to do the hiking we’d come to do at that slotted time.
So, I googled hiking trails available in Estes Park. There were plenty listed, and we found one to go to that turned out to be free! My son, Christopher, and I went on the shorter hiking trail to the left, while my son, Nicholas, and his friend took the longer, tougher route.
Since I hadn’t hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park since the summer of 2019, and since I’ve been on blood pressure medication since January 2020, I decided to take the easier path and see how I would do.
Well, I did have to acclimate a bit. My heart was beating like a beat box–too fast–and I was a bit lightheaded and out of breath at the beginning of the walk. It took until midway on the path and constant sips of my bottled water to acclimate, the dizziness to be gone, and my heartbeat to be more regular.
In any case, my son and I had a great adventure on the trail. Took lots of pictures, and embraced the nature around us. Here are some of our pictures. The last few with the precious baby chipmunks and Gem Lake are taken by my son, Nicholas, on their trail.
After our hiking adventures, we waited until 6 p.m. and entered Rocky Mountain National Park for free. The good thing about being there in the evening around that time is that we were likely to see some animals because they usually come out around dawn and dusk to eat.
The first animal we saw was a moose! But he was too far off to get a good picture of him. It was the first moose I’d seen outside the zoo!
Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are where I go for my little bit of peace in this world. We had a blessed and beautiful short trip. We will go back soon!