August 27, 2013
Beautiful but exhausting—that’s how I’ll describe the Rocky Mountain National Park. Beautiful, because it is; tiring because when you can’t breathe correctly, you get tired and don’t feel well. We left that wicked campground a day early. Richard was having increasingly difficulty breathing. We did get to see mamma moose and the babies one more time before we left. So, here we are in Jensen, Utah and Dinosaur National Monument—getting closer to home.
We went from a mountain campground to a high desert rocky campground. I’m not griping. That’s just the way it is. Gem is not happy about the move. The other campground had some wicked smells! Tomorrow, if Richard is feeling better, we’ll go into the National Monument. I talked to some people in the campground and they said it was amazing. So, how can we not go??
Now, yesterday I promised you my impressions of Rocky Mountain National Park. Please understand that we love our National Parks. The only one we missed on this trip was Shenandoah National Park because we needed to move on so we could visit relatives.
Rocky Mountain is one of the best we experienced. However, it is not for the person not used to altitude. We peaked at 11,800 ft. Our campground was over 8,000 ft. So for those of us who live at 108 ft. above sea level, it’s hard to breathe.
We did our best and drove the main road through the park, stopping at every trail head and turn out. I think we got the essence of the park. But, timing is everything. Each afternoon, monsoons hit the area. The black clouds roll in, threatening to ruin everyone’s fun. If you’re lucky, they just make it difficult to take photos. If you’re unlucky, you get rained on. The rain can last for a few minutes or for hours.
I know you’re saying, “Well, just go in the morning!” We intended to do that, BUT! I did shoot a lot of images, and I’ll show you some tonight, continuing for a couple of posts.
The other important fact about the Park, is the dying lodge pole trees. They are dying because of a beetle infestation and lack of water. In the current drought conditions, the trees can’t make the sap that helps them fight off the beetles that bore into the bark.
The ranger who led the hike said the forest in changing from a majority of lodge pole trees to a variety of trees that can withstand the drought conditions. Fortunately, Mother Nature’s changes take a long time, and hopefully we’ll see the lodge pole pine make a comeback.
Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll get to see Dinosaur National Monument and it will also be beautiful, but not tiring.