Sunday, July 26, 2015

7-25 The Last Day of Vacation - Michigan City, IN

We didn't stop during the day for any field trips - just kept going so we could get to Michigan City early. We went to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and it was HOT. And CROWDED on the beach.

In town, we went to Washington Park to walk on the pier, then to dinner.

This sculpture was near our restaurant.

Then back to the pier for sunset!
Sunset with ducks

Late swimmers


7-23 and 7-24 On the way home

Field trip for 7-23 was a stop in North Platte to see the Union Pacific train yard.

We stopped 7-23 in Kearney, NE. The next day, our field trip was to Platte River State Park.  They had an 85-foot tall tower to climb.  You can see a long way in Nebraska from 85 feet up.

 Our stop on 7-24 was Grinnell, Iowa.  We walked around campus some and found this tower that looks a lot like the College of Wooster.

Tried to take a sunset picture at the airport, but clouds were not cooperating.

7-22 Lakes hike

Moraine Park and Long's Peak
Today we decided to hike to see some lakes.  At first we said we wouldn't take a long hike today, but it turned about that we hiked about 5 miles.  First we stopped at the Moraine Park visitor center to get some maps.

Bierstadt Lake

We had a gorgeous day to hike to Bierstadt Lake, and great views of Long's Peak.  While we were there, some clouds started to gather though!  We had some sprinkles on the way out.  Our path in was through the woods, but the way out was much steeper.

Not "Stay on the trail or you'll fall to your death"

View from the trail

Thistles in the mist?
See the road at the bottom? This trail had lots of switchbacks to get down there.  Next we took the shuttle bus to the end of the road to hike to Nymph Lake. This area of the park is super-crowded.

Bear Lake is very close to the parking lot.  It was hard to get a picture without other tourists!

Nymph Lake was a little more secluded. 

July 21 - Hiking near Estes Park

These pictures are from a hike we took in Rocky Mountain National Park,  The first set of waterfalls along the trail are called Calypso Cascades.

A little further - Copland Falls

This was the view from the trail

The last fall was the tallest - Ouzel Falls

The bridge was out over the river here, so we watched the crew working to rebuild it.  We especially liked that this young woman was sawing while her buddy sat on the log.

Here are some of my favorite birds, animals and flowers that we saw on the hike:

Chipmunk and red paintbrush
Moss in a heart
Fat-faced chipmunk

Mariposa lily

Some kind of woodpecker!

On the way home, we stopped to see this amazing church - called The Chapel on the Rock

Thursday, July 23, 2015

July 20 in Estes Park

Today we didn't take a hike in nature!  Instead we stayed in town and toured the Stanley Hotel.  It's a famous old hotel, built by the guys who invented the Stanley Steamer car. A very cool old hotel.  Stephen King used it as the inspiration for the Overlook hotel in The Shining, after staying here for a night at the end of the season. The tour was really fun.

We loved this fountain & sculpture on the front lawn.

Creepy pet cemetery on the grounds of the hotel.

Panorama of the view from the front terrace.

"The vortex" I think is supposed to be haunted?  Or full of "positive energy"?  I don't remember.  This day it was full of people on my tour.

In the basement tunnel - look! "Orbs" of energy!  Or else my camera was fogged up. But it could totally be a ghost.

July 19: Trail Ridge Road

Today, we packed up the cabin in Grand Lake and headed across Rocky Mountain National Park on Trail Ridge Road.  This is a view from "Fairview Overlook"

 These two are panoramic shots from the alpine visitor center.  It was really cold and wet!  The elevation here is 11,796 feet and we could definitely feel it.

 A little further along the road, we came upon this bachelor herd of elk.

 Panoramic view of the elk and photographers

This one shows how far away we really were from the elk.

This is NOT the road we drove - it's Fall River Road.  Only open one direction.  And it's dirt.

 A view of mountains from another overlook on the road.

 When we came to a pull-out called Sheep Lakes, there was a bunch of traffic stopped on the road.  Why?  The bighorn sheep were in the meadow.  Most of them had already crossed the road and headed up the hill.  But the three in the picture below needed to catch up.

We were really lucky to see so many bighorn sheep. We stopped back later in the week and there hadn't been any more since Sunday.