Rocky Mountains

Sorry for being missing yesterday – I’m not at home, and the blog was down for a while . . . I’m really happy this weekend because Meredith and I are in Colorado for my cousin Sarah’s daughter Kara’s wedding.  I took the opportunity to see some more of the awesome sights around Denver, and fortunately was able to convince Meredith that we should go to Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday.  This makes #3 or 4 of the big national parks I’ve visited as an adult.  (Not counting national forest or wilderness areas).

I will always love Yosemite, but I am so glad we took this trip, and hope to go back Sunday before we leave.  Here are just a couple of the numerous pictures we took.

Rockies_1 This is off Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuously paved road in the U.S., peaking at 12,100 feet above sea level.  Everyone drives this road and they are doing construction.  I felt a little bad getting out and walking around on the tundra.  This is a delicate environment, and I had no idea that the tiny plants that grow in the harsh tundra environment may be dozens, and even hundreds, of years old.

Picture #2 is higher up – with some more spectacular views of peaks that are about 13,000 feet high – not even the real “Fourteeners”.

Rockies_2 I really wanted to capture the extreme blueness of the sky.  It is a little hazy around Denver and very hot, but up in the mountains, the air is very pure and the sky extremely blue.

Most of the high part of Trail Ridge road is above the level of the ski lift at Mammoth, and way above the other high Sierra areas I’ve been in.

I was a little concerned I might have some altitude effects, but it didn’t happen, and I was jumping around out there to see if anything would happen.

As to the forest in the backcountry, it is extremely thickly-forested, but unfortunately at the lower elevations, the bark beetle is devastating the forest as it already has done in California.  The Rockies are totally amazing from the giant scale to the tiniest details.

Tundra_plants These are the little tundra plants.  The pine trees are natural bonsai, growing level with the ground due to the harsh winds and weather.  Now, during summer, all of the tiny plants bloom and grow.  Some of their roots extend yards into the rock, while others are beautiful daisy-like flowers that live for a hundred years, saving up their energy to bloom once, set seed, and die.

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