Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rocky Mountain National Park

Before going to Winter Park for skiing, we visited Rocky Mountain National Park on the first day we were in Denver area. That would be my second visit to the park, but the first for Lily and Nicholas.

The first time I visited Rocky Mountain National Park was nearly nine years ago when I attended a national conference at University of Colorado at Boulder. I drove to the park with two fellow conference attendees in an afternoon designated by the conference as a free  afternoon for sightseeing. Due to the time limitation, we stayed on the trail ridge road for a scenic drive, stopped frequently for alpine and sub alpine vistas.

The trail ridge road is the highest through paved high way in the country - the highest point is slightly over 12000 ft. The road is narrow and winding, the view is spectacular under the Sun, The glaciers and emerald green glacier lakes that dotted the mountain slopes were the main attractions to me.

A stop on the trail ridge road
The trail ridge road
The peak near the highest parking area was extremely windy

A close up of a glacier

We entered the park from east and exited from the west, drove through the whole trail ridge road. One the way we passed a glacier lake and spotted two elks, I also stopped at a continental divide for the first time.

A Glacier Lake
Elks by a lake
First knowledge of continental divide 
This time the scenery at Rocky mountains was totally that of a winter. In fact the trail ridge road was closed about 7 miles from east entrance due to snow and ice. Instead we went to the bear lake area which is at a much lower elevation. The bear lake was totally frozen and covered by snow.

It was a beautiful sunny day. The bear lake parking area was jammed. I let Lily and Nicholas get off the car and walked to the trail head while I waited in the car for a parking spot. Lucky for me, I got a parking spot in about 10 ~15  minutes.

It was a perfect day for snowshoeing or cross country ski. Since we would need to get to winter park before dark, we just walked around a bit to enjoy the  cool crisp air, gorgeous weather and views.

Rocky Mountain near Bear Lake
Elks look different from their summer appearance

Standing on Bear Lake

White, Green and Blue
We only saw a tiny portion of this beautiful park. Next time, we will take a week long camping at the park at summer time to enjoy the whole park.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ski at Winter Park, Colorado

During this Spring break, we went to Winter Park Colorado for the first time for our annual skiing vacation. Winter Park is a great place to ski!

We parked at Ski Resort Parking and took gondola to the slope
Most skiing trails, easy or difficult, are very wide
The view is spectacular
We all enjoyed the mountains
The view from the top (North Cone)  to the east
At the summit - North Cone, elevation 12060 ft

On the Slope of Sleeper  - a blue+black trail - at Mary Jane Area
There are several good restaurants at the mountain tops - sunspot and lunch rock were our favorites
On the top!
View from the top
Snow Capped Mountains