Monday, July 30, 2012

The last of Hot Sulphur Springs and RMNP

Our last day at Hot Sulphur Springs found us heading once more to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Our goal was to travel the entire Trail Ridge Road, stop in Estes Park, then head back on the Old Fall River Road.  Fall River Road is 11 miles of dirt, climbing from the bottom of the canyon up to the Trail Ridge Visitor Center.  It is a one way road only.
More wildlife.  Here are two large bull elk just grazing away on the hillside.

We saw several herds of elk with their young.  

On the way to Fall River Road we stopped at the Alluvial Fan.  The alluvial fan was formed after the Lawn Lake Flood of 1982, when the earthen dam of Lawn Lake broke, releasing 29 million gallons of water.  The flood rushed downhill four miles to this point, picking up large bolders and trees.  Here at the base of the mountain much of the debris was dropped, forming the broad alluvial fan that still exists today.  The flood also caused the dam to fail at Cascade Lake downstream, causing the death of several campers as nearby Aspenglen Campground.  A six foot wall of water eventually arrived in the town of Estes Park.  At the end of the day, three people were dead from the flood.

The town of Estes Park is also the home of the Stanley Hotel.  Built in 1909, it stands as a testament to a man with a grand ideal.  F.O. Stanley, builder of the Stanley Racer, came to Estes Park as a young man with his family.  He loved the area and wanted it to remain as a recreational area, so he funded the building of the Stanley Hotel and much of the infrastructure that is still in place today, making Estes Park the recreational haven it is.

The Stanley Racer, which won the land speed record in 1906 with a speed of 45 mph.  This machine cost $850.

Just one of the many falls, cascading down the mountains, carrying the melting snows off the mountaintops.

We have completed the entire loop.  Above is the Trail Ridge Visitor Center.
Tomorrow we leave for Cheyenne, WY, and Cheyenne Frontier Days.

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