It was the morning of July 30, 2010; our Suburban carried twice the normal number of passengers north on I-25 (you read correctly – we had guests. A rare thing that, as most people can’t stomach being around me for very long). Four passengers were less than half the number of people it could have carried . . . I do miss owning a Suburban, but there is no chance of me ever buying another GM car.
Anyway, the Suburban then detoured to 470-West, headed North through Boulder, and arrived in Estes Park just in time for us to have breakfast before heading into the Rocky Mountains National Park.
We ate at a veritable icon, as far as establishments go. We went in through the back entrance . . .
. . . and had us a very expensive breakfast. I mean, it was good, but for the cost we could have fed a couple of African villages, although in fairness, the cost of flying them here would probably cut that down to just one village.
By the way, I should mention you can click on the photos to open a larger version in a new tab (or window, depending on the browser). There is also a SmugMug gallery HERE, with much better full resolution photos.
Anyway, after the meal, we walked around a bit.
I should also mention . . . all of the photos were processed through onOne Perfect Suite 8, and specifically the Perfect Effects module. I used the same custom preset for all of them, but for some I also added minor adjustments in Lightroom 5.
This was the front porch . . .
. . . with chairs arranged to see the view . . .
Can’t figure out the name of the place? First, no fair doing research; second, here is the view of the place from the back.
Here’s a HUGE hint . . .
Or, what about . . . “Heeere’s Johnny!“
Oh, OK . . . it’s the Stanley Hotel, the inspiration for Stephen King’s book titled for the 1980 film “The Shining“. Readers will gasp in mock horror when I explain I’ve never watched the movie or read the book.
Not much into horror movies, you see, and this one remains, in my opinion, an over-hyped turd. To be sure, not at the turdiness level of Avatar (my review HERE), which I did have the misfortune of watching.
Oh, OK . . . it’s supposed to be a classic, so maybe not a turd, but certainly over-hyped. Again, just my opinion.
Anyway, it would have been neat to go up to the supposed haunted room, but . . .
As much as I like taking photos of stuff, I was not about to register so I could go up for a peek at an imaginary ghost.
I settled for a couple of shots of the front . . .
Wait! . . . can you see the ghost in the upper right window?
“I’m not a fan!” it screamed, but none listened.
We left the hotel, and ventured into the park. We headed to one of the lakes that seems to get less visitors than the others (at least it appears so to me in the number of times I’ve visited the park). Sprague Lake. It has a nice trail that goes all around the lake, and is a level, easy walk just a few feet from the water itself.
A couple of the photos from this walk found their way into the Untitled Posts series, but the versions here are not as post-processed as those versions.
You get to see some wildlife . . .
. . . but, mostly, it’s scenery . . .
Oh, you do see fireweed . . .
. . . and logs . . .
. . . and a wooden bridge . . .
. . . and more logs . . .
Wait! . . . wasn’t that log in the foreground the subject of one of your Untitled Posts?
Why yes Bob; it surely was!
The parking lot had a Mallard hen with ducklings, and they were all shamelessly begging for food, making it easy to snap some photos.
But there were other avian sights . . .
I don’t know what they gray/black/brown bird is, but the blue crested one is a Steller’s Jay, well known to readers of this blog.
Here’s another shot, and this time I’m using the flash as the bird was in deep shade, hence the coloring taking on other hues.
There be more Steller’s Jays later, but for now, back to scenery.
There are two roads heading up to the highest point in the park, the Alpine Visitor Center, the highest facility of its kind in the National Park Service.
As can be seen from the links, the two roads are quite different (I’ll document one of my other trips to the park where we drove the Ridge road, but not now).
There are dramatic cliffs you can see from the road, opposite a deep chasm . . .
. . . and tall spires . . .
. . . and water running downhill; always downhill . . .
And, of course, Ptarmigans and their chicks.
Edited to add: there is a good chance this is a Dusky Grouse, and not a Ptarmigan.
At first I did not see the chicks . . .
. . . . but then they moved . . .
The hen did not seem overly concerned about the old guy with the camera . . .
Soon you get above the treeline . . .
. . . to a few flat areas where you stop and take some panorama shots (these are not the full resolution panoramas; for that you need to go HERE).
If you are lucky, you’ll see one of Pern’s dragons coming out of a stump.
. . . maybe it’s a camel; I don’t know. But, mostly you see flowers . . .
. . . and Elk in the valley below . . .
From the visitor center we watched rain make its way between the peaks, and knew it was time to move on . . .
We pressed on, and saw a mountain lake . . .
. . . and a Pika sunning itself (while the sun was still coming through the clouds) . . .
Still, it being called the ROCKY Mountains NP, we saw lots of rocks . . .
And, yes, the same mountain lake, only farther . . .
But, we also saw some Elk up close . . .
Of course, we saw more Steller’s Jays . . .
We did stop to eat, and the little critters came out . . . these next two are the last shots I took, but because of the nature of them, I did not want to end the post with these, so I am showing them out of order.
This chipmunk must have had a run-in with something, or met with some accident.
It moved rather gingerly, but it did let me get close to give it some grapes.
It ate a couple, and then took a few more, and went off with them. I hope he survived to recover.
On the other hand, this guy made many chip runs . . .
This little guy was also making chip runs, but was a lot more cautious than the older one.
In case you, the readers, are wondering, we were not feeding them chips. That was someone else. We gave them fruit (grapes).
And that was it. The rain finally caught up with us, and we headed home through familiar landscape that did not merit getting the camera and lenses wet.
All in all, it was a nice day. The next day was nice as well, but that is a post for another day.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.