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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Days 15-16 - Great American Family Road Trip - Rocky Mountain High

After leaving Mount Rushmore we had a long drive to Colorado.  Because we were so late getting into Fort Collins (and because we all needed a shower), we broke down and stayed at a motel.  We all enjoyed it to a certain extent, but it was kind of a seedy motel for the price (which was higher than any campground where we have stayed).

Bright and bushy tailed (and freshly showered), we drove on to Rocky Mountain National Park.  The dense pines and smell of the same were amazing.  There is little room for RV parking, but we did manage to get to Hidden Valley picnic area.  It's a former ski resort that the National Park System has restored to its natural beauty.

We had to stop in trendy Estes Park for souvenirs and then it was on across the mountains to our KOA campground in Central City.  This one is atop a mountain with a vista of the valley below.  Wow.

We roasted marshmallows over perhaps the last campfire we will have :(  and headed off to bed late.

Day 16 (yesterday, July 16) we awoke to a bright, sunny day with the smell of pine in the air.  I wanted to see the headwaters of the Colorado River (it's that water lawyer thing in me), so we headed off to Granby and Grand Lake where it all starts.  This is as close as we could get without hiking 8 miles.  As it was, I hiked about 1/2 mile in the rain.

The views here are spectacular and we agreed that the tree covered mountains are even more impressive than Yellowstone, mostly because they are so thick and green.

We drove up Trail Ridge Road (thanks for the tip Sara - Mom Endeavors!) to the Alpine Visitor's Center at 11,000 feet.  There was still some snow there and we saw some elk!

I thought I had seen the most beautiful sites at Yellowstone, but this view made me cry:

So many beautiful places . . .