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Excursions to RMNP

One of the biggest reasons I was excited to move to Denver – and am still excited ­– is its proximity to the one of the most popular parks in the National Park System: Rocky Mountain National Park. In fact, visiting RMNP was literally the first thing I did when I moved here in October. And at “only” an hour-and-a-half away, it is a “perfectly reasonable” distance for this Midwesterner. Plus, the views and wildlife along the way make the drive even more enjoyable.

When driving, it is advisable to stop before photographing wildlife.

But until I actually moved here, I had never visited my favorite park in the wintertime. Over the past three years, I had visited only in the summertime. Each time I tried new trails, but also made sure to return to sites of previous adventures to see how they had changed. Unsurprisingly, RMNP changes a little bit in the winter. See if you can spot any changes in the following two photos of the same ridge (though from different vantage points). They might be subtle.

This photo was taken with my Canon EOS Rebel T7 from Many Parks Curve, in October, 2021.
And this photo was taken from the same place with my Apple iPhone 13 Pro, in January 2022.

I will say, one of my favorite aspects of RMNP in the wintertime is the blowing snow. I have been lucky to avoid snowstorms during my winter adventures so far, usually arriving a day or two after some fresh powder has fallen. Wind coming off the mountains picks it up and often blows it over the peaks, making for an atmospheric landscape.

I hiked up one of these valleys last summer. I believe it might have been more challenging now.

And I am not the only one to have been enjoying the park in the winter. Earlier this month, I was walking around Lily Lake when I discovered a couple having a frigid wedding ceremony at the entrance to the lake. If it looks cold and windy, it was! I snapped this photo below, and thanks to the power of social media, was able to track down the couple and send them a copy. Congratulations to them!

No jokes here - congratulations!

I should mention that I am only a visitor to the park, of course. But there are creatures who call it home, and they are another of my favorite sights to see. In Iowa, we have deer a plenty, so I was a little puzzled when I encountered these strange looking deer that I had never seen before. Thankfully, the National Park Service helped me identify them as mule deer, and they are wonderful to observe – from a distance.

The only thing more cute than maintaining a safe distance is keeping all my organs puncture-free!
This one was checking out passing cars, noting how stabbable the tires looked. Yes, I know that isn't a word.

In all, Rocky Mountain National Park is awesome year-round. However, given my limited budget and lack of real winter hiking equipment, I anticipate I will be enjoying the park from relatively close to the main roads for the foreseeable futur. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, of course. For example, I took this photo of Chapin Mountain at sunset from just off Trail Ridge Road.

Don't mind these trees in the way.

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Till next time, fly safe!

1 Σχόλιο

Wow - amazing pics, and love hearing about the adventures behind them

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