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Rocky Mountain National Park

Yesterday, my hiking buddy and I set out to explore and hike in Rocky Mountain National Park...another beautiful place that has been on my list to visit. The original plan was to hike Sky Lake, then picnic. 

What ended up happening was better! We drove into the park which is about an hour and a half away from where I live. You drive in and start going up and up and the views are insane, y'all. It's apparently wildfire season and there are some big ones in Wyoming, so the air quality was not as clear as it could be, but it was still beautiful. 

This place makes me feel so small...

One of us would be like, "Let's pull over!", and we'd get out of the car to stand on the edge of the world. We did this all the way up and back down the other side of the park before realizing our planned hike was all the way across the other side of the park. Oopsies.

After a little research and expert map reading by yours truly (I SUCK at navigation and have no sense of direction, BTW) we ended up finding this little 3 mile hike that was unlisted on the park map we had. It ended up being pretty great. We were down in the valley with a massive stream winding back and forth next to us with mountains in the background. You know, like something on a post card. The only down side to that picture perfect hike was the enormous amount of horse shit that is typically not seen on said post cards.
A postcard view minus horse shit
We did a 3 mile out and back hike with a stop to sit by the stream half way through. Getting down there was a bit of a trek as there isn't a technical trail, but dammit, I wanted to sit by that water! It was so quiet and peaceful and serene...

After our hike, we decided to find a place to eat. The expert map reader (ME!) saw that we were relatively close to Shadow Lake, so we drove out of Rocky Mountain National and down to Pine Beach where we found a pretty picnic table next to the water. Erica made a yummy lunch with yummy wine and we spent time just hanging out and enjoying an unexpected new place.

Smart move bringing that hammock, Hells.

We decided to drive back home the way we came and back through the park. It was a completely different drive seeing these beautiful views from a different direction. We stopped a couple of times because the Elk were out in full force...the big ones. The truck sized ones with antlers that didn't look real. I'm typically not into deer-like creatures, but these things were incredible.

All-in-all, we spent about 8 hours exploring the park. Sometimes, more often than not, going with the flow can end up being so much better than any plan you can make...

It's Labor Day Weekend and I am taking full advantage of the last days of Summer in know, this place I get to call HOME.


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