September 13, 2016
Car Camping Mode, Aspenglen Base Camp
How we love crisp mountain air! Our reservations were for 3 nights on east side of the park in Aspenglen Campground. Campsites were about 200 yards from a parking lot and restroom area. Lovely setup complete with bear boxes. Just as we arrived the ranger and fellow campers reported seeing some bears in campground. They’d been peppered with rubber bullets shortly before we arrived. We saw no bears, but heard & saw quite a few bugling elks.
First order of business: pitch the tent. Prior to our trip we resealed its seams because we had improperly stored the tent (doh!), & seriously compromised its waterproofing. Preliminary testing revealed the reseal wasn’t so great, so we’d bought a large tarp from the Hardware store in downtown Moab.
That extra layer kept things dry when we did in fact get the rain we expected here later. We enjoyed a parade of turkeys cruising through the area around dinnertime on our first night.:)
Our daily rhythm: make breakfast, do dishes, set out for short day hike, kick back with afternoon coffee at campsite and take in the scenery, make dinner, do dishes, read and go to sleep.
A few aspens (my favorite!) along Deer Mountain Trail.
Trail Ridge Road: Excited to get up into the Alpine area, but the weather was too sketchy to drive all the way up to the Alpine Visitor Center. Here I am happy to have just seen a marmot.
Below: along beautiful, beautiful Loch Vale. We got snowed on during our way back down from the trail.
We were lazy by our last night in the park and opted to dine out early & walk around in Estes Park instead of cooking and cleaning “at home”. Estes Park is home of The Stanley Hotel, which served as inspiration for Stephen King’s “The Shining.” Maybe we will do a tour there on a return trip.
On our drive out of the park, we finally saw bighorn sheep grazing, appropriately next to Sheep Lakes. In our car, we grazed on snacks and watched the sheep being watched, before heading on to the city of Denver.