With a rough plan of visiting the National and State Parks along the route north to Canada, we left Colorado Springs and headed for Rocky Mountain National Park. Staying off the Interstate, we passed to the west of Denver and slowly climbed, passing through some heavy hail storms and beautiful country side.
Keeping in mind that the Summer Break in the US had just started, we weren’t surprised to find the main campgrounds in the Park booked out. Many of the campgrounds in the popular parks (Rocky Mountain NP has – wait for it – 4.6 million visitors a year!) book out as soon as bookings open 6 months in advance. However, there are some campgrounds that cannot be booked and are designated ‘first come first served’ and we had no problem getting into a beautiful campground amongst the pine trees – complete with big elk and many signs about bears.
The Park had only been open for 2 weeks due to the late summer and recent heavy snow. Snow-ploughs take 6 weeks to clear the snow from the roads at the beginning of each season and in places snow was still piled high on either side of the road.
We spent the morning driving through the park, amazed at the amount of snow around and imagining the spectacular views that were out there somewhere! Heavy fog, rain and snow flurries at the top put a stop to any sightseeing, but we thoroughly enjoyed the morning driving through the park.
Back down on the flat, things were much clearer and we had morning tea on the side of the road watching herds of elk doing what elk do best.