We visited Rocky Mountain National Park in June, following Janet's SALSA meeting. Day 1 (June 12) was rainy where we were, and snowy higher up, precluding our intent to take the drive up Trail Ridge Road to the highest peaks. Instead, we remained at lower levels, eyeing the elk, whose antlers were in various stages of regrowth and covered with a velvet which they will rub off as they mature. The next day we drove to Bear Lake and hiked from there to Bierstadt Lake, named after the painter (Google images) whose depictions of it called attention to the area's beauty and contributed to the formation of the National Park. Just as we were about to leave the park and head back to Denver an officer removed the closed sign. Trail Ridge Road was now open! Although it was nearly 7 PM, we went for it. At about 8 PM we reached 12,000 feet with snow difts over a meter in height. In spite of the cold, it was exquisitely beautiful. After an excellent dinner at the Cafe Basilico (recommended by our friends Bob and Mereth Meade) we went on to Denver, returning home the next day on insufficient sleep but glad for the chance -- almost missed -- to drive up into the sky.
Bierstadt lake Stanley hotel Stanley desk antlers
At Bierstadt Lake
The opulent Stanley Hotel, basis for Stephen King's The Shining
Stanley Hotel interior, built in 1909
Grazing elk
Bierstadt lake Bierstadt Lake near Bierstadt Lake Aged wood
Bierstadt Lake
Bierstadt Lake
View from trail
Detail, aged wood
Bierstadt Lake blowing snow trunda
Bierstadt Lake with Vista
Snow and Wind
View from Trail Ridge Road
Tree Line
oxbows stone tree
Alpine Tundra
Alpine Tundra
Fall River from Rainbow Curve
Tree at Many Parks Curve
shaped wood stone red lichen lichen on rock
Detail, wood
Detail, stone
Detail, showing lichen
Detail, showing diversity in lichen community
red on tree
Detail, showing cut in bark
Tree scar with surrounding bark
yellow sunset
Irregular growth
Sunset leaving Trail Ridge Road

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Photos by Janet Chernela and Steve Mount; page by Steve Mount