Looking Back – Rocky Mountain NP (2010)

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 . . .

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. . . 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.

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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 . . .

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. . . with chairs arranged to see the view . . .

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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.

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Here’s a HUGE hint . . .

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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 . . .

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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 . . .

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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.

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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.

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You get to see some wildlife . . .

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. . . but, mostly, it’s scenery . . .

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Oh, you do see fireweed . . .

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. . . and logs . . .

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. . . and a wooden bridge . . .

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. . . and more logs . . .

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Wait! . . . wasn’t that log in the foreground the subject of one of your Untitled Posts?

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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.

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But there were other avian sights . . .

"Yo! Disperser! . . . what kind of bird is that?"

“Yo! Disperser! . . . what kind of bird is that?”

"Why, heck if I know, Bob!"

“Why, heck if I know, Bob!”

"In disgust, I show you my crest!"

“In disgust, I show you my crest!”

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.

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There be more Steller’s Jays later, but for now, back to scenery.

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There are two roads heading up to the highest point in the park, the Alpine Visitor Centerthe highest facility of its kind in the National Park Service.

The two roads are the Trail Ridge Road and the Old Fall River Road. We took the Fall River road which, by the way, will remain closed in 2014 due to the extensive damage from the 2013 floods.

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 . . .

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. . . and tall spires . . .

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. . . and water running downhill; always downhill . . .

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And, of course, Ptarmigans and their chicks.

Edited to add: there is a good chance this is a Dusky Grouse, and not a Ptarmigan

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At first I did not see the chicks . . .

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. . . . but then they moved . . .

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The hen did not seem overly concerned about the old guy with the camera . . .

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Soon you get above the treeline . . .

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. . . 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).

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If you are lucky, you’ll see one of Pern’s dragons coming out of a stump.

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. . . maybe it’s a camel; I don’t know. But, mostly you see flowers . . .

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. . . and Elk in the valley below . . .

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From the visitor center we watched rain make its way between the peaks, and knew it was time to move on . . .

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We pressed on, and saw a mountain lake . . .

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. . . and a Pika sunning itself (while the sun was still coming through the clouds) . . .

It do blend well, don't it?

It do blend well, don’t it?

Still, it being called the ROCKY Mountains NP, we saw lots of rocks . . .

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And, yes, the same mountain lake, only farther . . .

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But, we also saw some Elk up close . . .

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Of course, we saw more Steller’s Jays . . .

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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.

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It moved rather gingerly, but it did let me get close to give it some grapes.

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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 . . .

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This little guy was also making chip runs, but was a lot more cautious than the older one.

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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.

This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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No, no, no, no!

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If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Animals, Birds, Chipmunk, Colorado, Colorado, Elk, Malard Ducks, Photography, Photography Stuff, Rocky Mountains NP, Rocky Mountains NP, Scenery, Stellar's Jay, Stuff, Travel Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Looking Back – Rocky Mountain NP (2010)

  1. Brought back memories from our trip to Rocky Mountain NP. We didn’t get into the Stanley Hotel though. Beautiful photos. You have a couple from the exact spot I took photos.

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  2. sandra getgood says:

    What glorious pictures!

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    • disperser says:

      Thanks, Sandy.

      It’s a neat place to drive through (and occasionally stop) although I’ll probably wait a few years to return. The flooding last year did some damage both inside and outside the park, and I rather wait until it’s repaired before I venture in again. Construction traffic in the parks can get pretty bad.

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  3. oneowner says:

    This takes me back to the time I visited Estes Park years ago. And I did go to the Stanley, too! It wasn’t until a few years later that I found out that my sister-in-law is from Estes Park. So I got that goin’ for me. Excellent shots, as usual.

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    • disperser says:

      Thanks . . . does she still live there, or is that literally where she came from (grew up there)?

      The Stanley is one of them hotels with lots of atmosphere, but it lack one important thing . . . air conditioning. This is a guess, but it’s a somewhat educated guess as many older hotels (even resorts) in the well known parts of Colorado are not retrofitted with what I consider a basic necessity.

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  4. Sarah says:

    How’d you figure The Shining is a turd without having seen it? (To be fair, I do this to movies all the time, as I’m sure we all do. Curious about this one, though. I’ve loved The Shining for years for reasons both cinematic as well as sentimental, although it has a lot of problems and I can see where someone wouldn’t be a fan. For one thing, I honestly don’t think it’s very scary, although that could be a function of having seen it so many times I’ve lost count. Also I hope I’m one of the few people who is a fan of the movie for “sentimental reasons.”)

    Love all the twisted log water shots and the jay and ducks in particular. You also taught me the name of fireweed. The Stanley looks very stately. The shot from the road of some of those dramatic cliffs with that stream that looks almost completely vertical is stunning, too.

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    • disperser says:

      Really? That’s the question, and not chastising me for purposefully saying the book was named after the movie? Or for slamming Avatar?

      OK, I’ll give the serious answer . . . it is true I’ve not read any part of the book; it is also true I’ve not seen the entire movie. However, I’ve come across the movie during various times of my life. A snippet here, another snippet there, and so on.

      I can say, my conscience clear, my eyes bright, and my brow unfurrowed, that the parts I did see held zero interest for me. Nay, they literally stank . . . I would watch a part of it, and my olfactory sense would sound the alarm: “Turd! Look away! Look away!”

      To be fair, I did not like either of the actors, so that could be a part of it.

      Nicholson ruined many a movies for me; there are only a few roles I can stomach him in, and I still think the Batman movie would have been the best of any had he not overplayed his part to the extent of ruining the movie. If it’s any consolations to your hurt, I thought he also sucked in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and that indeed, that movie sucked as well. Oh, heck . . . in for a penny, in for a pound; I also think Casablanca is way overhyped, and to this day I have no clue why anyone would think that a great movie or a classic. Again, most people disagree.

      Shelley Duvall is one of those actors I’ve never warmed up to, and the only role she ever seemed suited for was as Olive Oyl in “Popeye”. Unfortunately, the character of Olive Oyl is one of those characters I disliked since I was a wee lad . . . some of the dislike probably transferred to the actress itself.

      However, had the characters been interesting, it would have overcome my dislike for the actors. Alas, not.

      Some might argue that watching the entire movie will help one “see” the fascinating development of the characters, but unfortunately for “some”, I am not susceptible to applying retroactive information to alter my opinion of real or imaginary people.

      If I see someone do something, I will judge them on their actions, and care little about the path they traveled to get there. To wit, Wendy as a very poor role model for women, and Jack (the character, not the actor, although he too is not exactly someone I would hold up as a shining human example), came across over-the-top and unrealistic simplification of someone going “mad”.

      But, here’s the crux . . . what supposedly makes this a classic is not what the actors did, or what the story is, or the actions in the film . . . it’s Kubrik’s “vision”. The tributes are all to his craft, and what he did in the movie to manipulate the audience.

      Unfortunately, a lot of what he did grated me the wrong way, to which the fans say “it’s supposed to do that!”

      Perhaps I am alone in this, but I don’t like to be grated, either the right or the wrong way. I’m sensitive to it, and react badly to it . . . by calling a turd a turd.

      Now, you mention “sentimental reasons” for liking . . . no; loving this movie. I suppose if some great event happened in my life at the same time I was watching this movie I might . . . still think it offers an olfactory challenge, while remembering the event itself with fondness.

      But, I understand how some might not react the way I do to things, and to life in general (not really, but I’ve learned social convention practically demands I say so).

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      • Sarah says:

        I’m actually on board with a lot of these reasons! The acting is probably my biggest problem with this movie. A, I don’t think Shelly Duvall can act her way out of a paper bag. And B, both she and Jack are too over-the-top, though I have some sympathy for Duvall because I guess Kubrick was a son of a bitch to work with and kept pushing her for more. Still sucked.

        In some isolated sense I feel like Jack Nicholson gives a goodish performance? How’s that for a recommendation! But I feel his menace, especially in some of those quieter moments like this scene where Danny goes back to their suite and he’s just sitting on the bed quietly, staring with his mouth open a little. People always talk about the “Here’s Johnny!” theatrics being so terrifying and granted, who wouldn’t be soiling themselves on the other side of that door? However, there’s something so creepy about him in that scene with Danny where he’s acting normal–for him. His version of understatement, I guess. And Jack Nicholson is great at playing an asshole. But as a depiction of madness, sure, this is about as far as nuanced as you can get.

        And not to be one of those people who is eternally holding up the book (I liked it fine but wouldn’t go to the mat for it), but this is one area where sometimes I wish they’d been more faithful. The movie departs so far from Jack’s arc in the book. Basically, movie Jack doesn’t have an arc. Nicholson plays him as an unhinged, dangerous bastard straight from the start. I’ve also heard that this is one of the things that bothered Stephen King most about the adaptation, because arguably the most important element of what’s supposed to be scary about this story is not the ghoulies, but rather the progression of a very flawed but normal person into someone who has let themselves be pulled down into evil and almost lost their humanity. (Another crucial movie/book difference, book-Jack actually saves Danny in the end by wrestling off the demons long enough to tell him to run! Oh yeah – and Wendy isn’t such a train wreck in the book, either.)

        All that to come to this: I actually do like the movie as a separate entity, and that has much more to do with the filmmaking than the acting and characterization. (I should underscore, though, that I find the hammy acting incredibly endearing by this point.) I like the score, even though much of it sounds like high-pitched throat gargling. I like the way the shots are framed. I like the atmosphere of the hotel, its horrid, wonderful decor and shape-shifting maze. I like the way the camera follows Danny on his bike through the halls and the way it zooms in fast from afar on the ghoulies that Wendy encounters and the way it later floats down the hall to zero in on the old photos in the end of the movie. I like the stark cuts to the title cards of the days of the week (still can’t figure out why they’re there since the action of the movie takes place over longer than a week). I just admire the boldness of a lot of these style choices (oh, hey, slow motion tidal wave of Ocean Spray pouring out of the elevator! Oh hey, part of the score that sounds like a bouncy ball!). All of it contributed to a Vivid Movie Experience for me, though.

        Th reason I like the movie for sentimental reasons is just that I’ve been watching it at least once a year with my two close friends and endlessly hashing over many of these same details (Jack Nicholson’s performance, in particular) and debating what the hell the end is supposed to mean. It’s become more of an experience than most of the movies I’ve seen.

        Also, Avatar is a steaming pile of shit.

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        • disperser says:

          You should get together with your two close friends and watch Joe Versus the Volcano and Local Hero, discussing the symbolism in one and the simple message in the other.

          . . . also Hitman, although that’s more simple escapism.

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        • Sarah says:

          I’ve certainly heard of Joe Versus the Volcano. Used to be in rotation on Comedy Central sometimes during the day, something I’d notice when I was TVing it up home sick from school. I feel like “Comedy Central–daytime” says a lot about a movie’s genre, but maybe not. The other two, I haven’t heard of! But with any luck they are deep and incisive explorations into the human soul!!

          Wouldn’t you know it, though, my friends and I are organizing our first little movie fest to make up for a festival we normally we go to, and we are excited about recurring movie marathons theme nights. Could I con them into watching these movies, I wonder? I wonder.

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        • disperser says:

          OK, I kid about Hitman (I like the movie, but no exploration of human soul – just killing).

          JVTV is all about exploring (searching) for one’s soul which, being soulless, makes it an odd choice for my favorite movie.

          Local Hero is about realizing what is important in life, along with a dose of “you can’t eat scenery” perspective.

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  5. AnnMarie says:

    The scenery is spectacular and merits a nice and long SmugMug visit. I’m a fan of stately places and the Stanley Hotel (irregardless of its connections to a movie I’ve not seen and have no desire to see) looks very beautiful architecturally and has very fine furnishings. I’m glad you shared your visit to it.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      I like the hotel for how it looks, but not sure I would stay there. Modern amenities matter when you travel with as many snacks as we do (a mini-fridge is a must for anywhere we stay)

      Like

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