My father lost a very dear first cousin yesterday. J.L. was, like most members of our family, raised in Texas (in the town of Sweetwater). In mid-life, however, he moved to Colorado, and once there never left the mountains. His favorite place in the world was Rocky Mountain National Park, and the nearby city of Estes Park, Co. Estes Park, like Boulder, Jamestown, and other areas in and around Denver, was very hard hit by torrential rains and flooding this past Thursday.
Flooding in Estes Park
J.L. is certainly not the only Texan in our family to fall in love with the rugged beauty of Colorado. I, too, love this place, as does my husband. In fact often I think it would be the perfect little place for us to retire. Yes it gets plenty cold as compared to Austin, Texas, with the worst of the cold weather coming to this area of the Rockies in spring, just when the bluebonnets are in full bloom here. Still, I cannot resist the mountains in all their year-round glory, and find Rocky Mountain National Park particularly becoming this time of year as the aspens turn golden and the elk come down from the high summer meadows to walk the streets of Estes Park. If you have never seen…or heard…elk during the mating season you are truly missing quite a sight.
Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
When my brother and I were growing up our parents took us to this place often. We camped in a tent in the national park, and shopped the streets of Estes Park and played miniature golf there. I will never forget my daughter’s first trip to Colorado; she just couldn’t stop taking pictures. She was in Estes Park during Spring Break this year, and fell in love with the place all over again.
Trail Ridge Road (U.S. 34) in the national park has to be one of the most magnificent drives in this country. A highway to the sky, it covers 48 miles between Estes Park on the east side of the park to Grand Lake on the western side. A visitor center sits perched at the uppermost point of the drive, and from this vantage point, high above the tree line, you have a magnificent view over all the Rockies. In just the last few days this road has provided the only way out of Estes Park, with flooding so severe that roads going directly east towards Denver have been closed.
Enjoy the gallery of photos above, to a very favorite place of mine. My heartfelt thoughts are with the residents and businesses in Estes Park. Recover quickly, because Colorado is always calling me back…