Frosty February

Frosty February

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Rocky Mountain High

It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions 
now and then up among the clouds, 
on mountain tops, 
to see better what the sun sees 
on our return to common, everyday beauty.
John Muir
Quote at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center
Rocky Mountain National Park

I must agree with John Muir. Indeed, it was good to make a short excursion to the mountains.
Two weeks ago, we were in Colorado. It was a last-minute trip, which is what farmers seem to do ... well, it's what my farmer seems to do. As a child, he remembers similar occasions when his dad would come to the house and announce an impromptu adventure.

We were caught up with farm work because it was so hot and dry. In typical fashion, Stafford County Fair week had brought 100-degree temperatures. While the fairgrounds got some rain one evening, we had missed out on any rainfall at home.

Our last trip that didn't involve children, grandchildren or K-State sports was in 2011, so it was time for a getaway. Randy suggested either Branson or Estes Park. I voted for Colorado, since I figured Branson would be just as hot and even more humid than Kansas.

Colorado didn't disappoint!
We were envisioning a little cabin along a Colorado river. However, when you are making last-minute reservations, you take what you can find. The motel wasn't cheap (but it should have been if going by the quality). While we weren't in a picturesque cabin along the roaring river, we did stop and enjoy the beauty and sounds of water rushing over river rock.
It was our first time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park.
One day, we traveled the Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Grand Lake.
As we traveled upwards in the Park, the temperatures got cooler, and we even pulled on jackets for a little while. It was wonderful!
Even though we called it "snow," the information boards called it a "glacial landscape," or rivers of ice. No matter what it was called, it was a welcome relief from 100-degree temperatures and watching the dryland corn and milo burn up back in Kansas.
While trees don't grow in the alpine tundra, delicate little wildflowers still flourish. It's like a colorful miracle!
For a couple of Kansans, the mountain vistas were a beautiful change of pace, including the play of light and shadows as clouds drifted in and out of the panoramic views.
One of my favorite stops along the way was the valley nestled at the feet of the Bowen-Baker peaks. It was just one of those places where my reaction was "Thank you, God!"
When we got to Grand Lake, we ate our picnic lunch and watched the boats.

We definitely didn't need our jackets any longer. Grand Lake is the largest natural lake in Colorado and is known as the headwaters of the Colorado River.
We pulled into the Grand Lake Lodge so we could get a view from above.

Our trip back to Estes Park was just as picturesque - maybe even more so since our views early in the day had been obscured by a cloudy, hazy morning.
I love Kansas, and I will never agree that it's a flyover state or simply a way to get to the mountains from the east.
But it was a treat to see mountain vistas - a change of pace from our life on the flat Plains of Kansas. (Not all of Kansas is flat, but our part of the world is.)
We were amused at one of the visitor centers when Randy heard a dad ask how he and his boys could see a bear. The park ranger suggested going to a campground and looking for the dirtiest camp site. I don't know whether the dad tried it or not. We didn't see any bears. But we did see a few animals ...

 including an elk ...
... some mountain goats ...
 ... and some cute chipmunks.
We did not feed the animals.


  1. Back in 2008, our youngest son was on a soccer scholarship to Fort lewis College, Durango in Colorado. We visited in October of that year and watched him play in Denver and Durango. We had time to visit this wonderful National park. I am sure I have a photo of a bird sitting on the same spot as your chipmunk. So glad you managed to have this time away. Sincerely hope you returned to a cooler wetter Kansas.

    1. It has been cooler since we returned home. Unfortunately, we haven't had rain, so our corn and milo doesn't look good.

  2. Kim,
    Yea for you and Randy having and taking the opportunity to get away from the farm. What a gorgeous trip. I am with you as I also love the prairie. And I agree, there is something about mountains and their environment that makes me think God is a true artist!

    Thank You for sharing your adventure and beautiful pictures.

    1. We had a wonderful time. It was nice to get away.