Our friend Greg Hatten…
…took a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park this year. The trip brought him some memories, some nostalgic and some frightening moments.
Rocky Mountain National Park was established in 1915 and is one of the most visited parks in the entire National Park system. It’s located in north central Colorado and has so many incredible natural features it can take days to experience them all.
It was the first National Park I ever visited and when I was 10 years old Smokey the Bear seemed real, the Park Rangers in their pressed wool uniforms and flat brimmed hats were super heroes, and the park itself was an outdoor paradise just waiting for me to explore each year on family trips.
With all the beautiful waterfalls, hiking trails, snowy peaks, and colorful meadows of the Rocky Mountain National Park, the feature I most wanted to see on my recent trip was the headwaters of the Colorado River.
In Rocky Mountain National Park, the 1,400 mile Colorado River comes to life as a babbling little brook several hundred miles upriver from the Grand Canyon. A few weeks ago I trailered my fully restored and freshly repainted Portola across the plains of Kansas toward the headwaters of the Colorado River. I had a lot of miles to think about that experience.
Since it was before Memorial Day, the park area seemed to be just waking up from winter. A few of the campgrounds were opening and most were unoccupied, new park rangers were still training for the upcoming season, and patches of snow were as numerous as the visitors were sparse.
The river snaked its way in lazy “s” curves through a valley that seemed to have 1,000 shades of green and then it rounded the corner and disappeared into a deep, dark canyon in the distance. We set up camp on that scenic stretch of the Upper Colorado River just outside Rocky Mountain National Park with towering bluffs on one side and dramatic peaks on the other. The flat valley beside the river had a rough-hewn log fence that ran the length of the river and when we set up our cots and canvas tents, it looked a little bit like a civil war encampment.
There are adventures galore in this post! You can read the rest here at Greg’s blog: Greg Hatten at Rocky Mountain National Park
Pendleton for the National Parks: SHOP HERE