June 18, 2020 Estes Park/RMNP, CO (Day 6)

The morning temp was in the 50’s when we woke up at 7:00. We heard the cold front come through last night with the winds that blew. Rain was expected later today. As we had breakfast, we saw this raven being attacked by some magpies. When we looked closer, the raven had a cute little gopher in his claws. Awww! Poor gopher!

We got ready to do some hiking today and left for the park at 10:00 for our timed entry. The line to get in wasn’t very long, but there were some pokey people. As we approached Moraine Park, we saw a huge herd of elk grazing in the meadows.

We drove up Bear Lake Road into the park on our way to the Park and Ride.

We jumped on the shuttle which wasn’t very busy today and rode it all the way to Bear Lake.

The hike around Bear Lake is a .6 mile loop with a 9-16% grade.

We reached the lake after a few steep climbs.

It was beautiful and pristine.

The mountains provided the perfect backdrop for the lake. It was breathtaking!

We walked the loop at a leisurely pace around the lake.

We crossed a few bridges over the mountain streams on our walk.

This stream had a few cutthroat trout in it. They were a fair size, just hanging out facing upstream as they do to catch their food.

It was a beautiful sunshiny day, but the temp never got above 60 degrees.

We came across some snow patches in the shade of the forests.

Bob noticed this waterfall way up in the mountains.

We could hear it before we saw it, but we couldn’t see where it emptied into the river. After a lovely walk around Bear Lake, we decided to try another short hike to Nymph Lake.

It was a short 1 mile hike round trip, but they never said it was all uphill. It was a gradual incline, but if definitely was “up”. Maybe the arrow was supposed to give us a clue.

The lake was very peaceful with lily pads floating on the surface and more snow around the edges.

We saw some interesting things along the way–this beautiful root structure of a felled tree and this young pine tree. The sunlight lit the tops of the branches highlighting the new growth on this pine tree. The colors were so vibrant in the sun.

The walk down was SO much easier. Bob spotted a beautiful bird that had iridescent blue feathers. A ranger told us it was a Steller’s jay, a relative of the blue jay . He was too quick, so I never got a picture of him, but his colors were extraordinary.

From Nymph Lake, we hopped on the shuttle and rode it back to the Park and Ride. From there, we went on to check out the Glacier Basin Campground across the road. It was mostly tenters, but the view of the mountain range from the entrance was amazing.

Tyndall Glacier could be easily seen from the entrance.

We parked and ate our lunch enjoying the view.

As we were leaving, Bob spotted this bluebird on the top of a pine tree. I can’t remember the last time I actually saw a bluebird.

Leaving there, as the weather started to change over the mountains, we made a stop at Sprague Lake.

Sprague Lake is a great picnic spot, but it also has a 1/2 mile nature walk around the lake.

We saw two ringed-necked ducks swimming on the lake who were joined by a pair of geese and their 5 new goslings. Two men were fly fishing in the lake, but weren’t finding much success. We stopped to watch them for awhile.

The mountains were reflected on the placid lake.

We had a view of Tyndall Glacier again.

The peak to the left of the glacier is Hallett Peak, one of the mountains that forms the Continental Divide.

The weather turned colder and we were ready to get out of the wind.

On our drive back, we saw that the elk herd was still grazing in the meadow. We spotted two mule deer also grazing by the side of the road and a female wild turkey.

By now, the skies turned cloudy and a cold wind cut through the air. We headed back to the campground with a swing through town to check out another exit strategy for when we leave here on Sunday. We can’t go back through downtown. This historic Stanley Hotel, which opened in 1909, sits on the outskirts of town. It stands at the base of the mountains.

Back at the campsite, we took Auggie for a walk. He continued to hunt gophers wherever he thought they might be hiding out.

Around 4:30, the rain moved in and it began to drizzle lightly just like they said it would. It rained a little harder as night fell. Auggie and I got our walk in before it started raining too hard and then we settled in for the night. Bob said that today was full of wildlife…and that it was! It was a wildlife kind of day!

Pineapple update: It is still growing strong, turning yellow at the top and ripening slowly. We still set it out in the sun at every stop.

4 thoughts on “June 18, 2020 Estes Park/RMNP, CO (Day 6)”

  1. I have read all of the blog in one sitting! Wonderful photos and commentary; I feel like I am in Colorado with you!
    Thank you for giving us the link!

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