Rocky Mountain National Park is 101 Years Old Today

The most visited of Colorado’s four National Parks is 101 years old today.   Rocky Mountain National Park came to exist January 26, 1915 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill creating our National Park.

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

This park has many attractions; the most notable is Trail Ridge Road.   This road, connecting the towns of Grand Lake on the west and Estes Park on the east, reaches 12,183 feet and crosses the Continental Divide.   The road, US 34 is the highest continuous highway in the United States.   Trail Ridge Road closes in the winter, due to snow.    Rocky Mountain National Park has much wildlife, including large elk herds, prompting Estes Park to hold Elk Fest every fall.   Hiking, mountain climbing and camping are just a few activities enjoyed by park visitors.

When in Colorado we hope you visit all of our National Parks:   Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Mesa Verde National Park.

Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park with Zeb and Eider Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, and my Alaska cousin, Eider Duck went to Estes Park, Colorado.

We love Estes Park, Colorado

We love Estes Park, Colorado

We love Estes Park.  We wandered around town; bought the best taffy at the original Taffy Shop and then our favorite creamy fudge at Laura’s Fudge Shop.  Yum!!

There is some ice on the river now.

Ice means winter is coming

Ice means winter is coming

Christmas will soon be here, and we saw these Christmas decorations.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

The bear with the Christmas hat made us smile.

Everybody is getting the Christmas spirit

Everybody is getting the Christmas spirit

Things are getting so festive.  We saw this snowman and snow woman.

Our new friends

Our new friends

We liked them and they liked us.

Then we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park.

This is one of our favorite parks

This is one of our favorite parks

The park will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2015.  This park is beautiful.

So many beautiful views

So many beautiful views

We drove as far as we could on Trail Ridge Road.  It is closed part way up the mountain for winter.  The road is not maintained during the winter.  There was snow here.  The wind was pretty strong also and that makes everything feel cold.  The snow was really swirling around the mountain peaks.

Snow swirling around the mountain peaks.

Snow swirling around the mountain peaks.

Near Bear Lake we got out to sit on this snow bank.

Humans, don't forget us!

Humans, don’t forget us!

It is pretty, but snow is cold for small ducks.

This deer was watching us, just as we liked to watch her.

Isn't she beautiful?

Isn’t she beautiful?

We watched this bird for a while;

We like this bird.

We like this bird.

we like seeing so many animals in the National Park.   And the elk was so close to the road.

Even elks want a snack.

Even elks want a snack.

He is a gorgeous animal.  His huge horns makes him so majestic.  We love to see the elk here.  Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are always beautiful, but they are really special in the winter with snow and the feel of Christmas in the air.  We hope you are enjoying the winter and anticipating Christmas also.

Rocky Mountain National Park at Christmas

Christmas will arrive in a couple days so Mom took us to Estes Park

Entering Estes Park, Colorado

Entering Estes Park, Colorado

and Rocky Mountain National Park yesterday.  Snowy and beautiful.

Zeb the Duck and Soapy Smith Duck left a sunny Denver to experience early winter in the mountains.  This place attracts chipmunks, wild turkeys, birds, and tourists in the summer.

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park, Colorado

None seen on this visit.  Entering Estes Park we noticed changes.  Now the Fall River is frozen so the water wheel is not turning.

Estes Park, Colorado.  River is frozen

Estes Park, Colorado. River is frozen

Humans are wearing hats, gloves and coats, no shorts today.  After visiting our favorite stores and purchasing cookies, brownies, salt water taffy (has no salt water in it??), fudge, and toffee we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park.

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

Passing through the Fall River Entrance we discovered Sheep Lakes are frozen.

Frozen lake in the park

Frozen lake in the park

As we drive, snow begins to fall.  It swirls on the road.  We, Zeb and Soapy Duck, think it looks magical.  Driving higher, more snow is falling.  These elk take advantage of the grass and graze before it is covered with snow or ice.

Elk grazing as snow begins to fall

Elk grazing as snow begins to fall

They knew we were watching them and they kept an eye on us.

Further up the mountain, this bull elk was also grazing.

Bull elk in the snow

Bull elk in the snow

Must take a lot of grass to fill his tummy.  We, Zeb and Soapy Duck, were only 15 feet away from him.  He is big!!

Mom decided it was time to leave; she will be wrapping candy for Christmas presents tonight, but we wanted one more minute in the snow before driving down the road.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

We love Rocky Mountain National Park.  It is beautiful in the summer, colorful in the fall, magical in the winter and refreshing in the spring.    We hope you visit Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado soon.  You won’t be sorry.

ESTES PARK, COLORADO after the flood

WOW!  What a great day.  Mom and I and Soapy, his mom and Steve, his dog went to Estes Park.  You probably heard that Colorado had severe flooding in October, but now the town of Estes Park is open to tourists.  So, we went.  Approaching downtown Estes Park, we were greeted by several young deer.

We were greeted by these deer

We were greeted by these deer

Estes Park is one of my favorite Colorado mountain towns.  They have a lot of festivals, so I probably will be writing about Estes Park many times.  This weekend was Elk Fest.

Elk Fest and we are.  We are under the last t

Elk Fest and we are. We are under the last t

Estes Park is one of the towns that borders Rocky Mountain National Park.  There are lots elk in the park, and lots in town now also.  This is their rut, or mating time.  The males bugle to attract the females and chase away other males.  We saw lots of elk in a city park.

Male elk ready to defend territory and his females

Male elk ready to defend territory and his females

In town, we walked along Elkhorn Street, the main tourist area, and things had been cleaned up and almost every business was open.  The main thing our moms missed were the huge pots of flowers.  Soapy and Zeb loved everything.  If necessary, our moms can go to the Botanical Gardens soon. We went to our favorite snack stores.  First to the Taffy Shop.  They have machines that pull taffy.

Taffy.  Looks good and tastes better

Taffy. Looks good and tastes better

It is so great.  The moms came out of the Taffy Shop with several boxes of taffy.  Then we went another block or more to Laura’s Fudge and Candy Store.  Again, lots of boxes.  This time fudge and white chocolate macadamia toffee and huge cookies.   I have tried it all this week.  I decided my favorite is every one.  Try them soon.  YUM!! The river goes through Estes Park and it is beautiful.  The moms took lots of pictures of us by the river.

Soapy & Zeb by water wheel and Nepal shop

Soapy & Zeb by water wheel and Nepal shop

Admiring the river

Admiring the river

Soapy has a blue tie on and Zeb is casual and without a tie.  Steve, she is really a girl dog, has a blue collar and pink leash.

Don't think this is usually in the river.

Don’t think this is usually in the river.

We all had to really watch Soapy as he is a scoundrel, just like his namesake Soapy Smith.

Soapy pushing Zeb to take boy's apple

Soapy pushing Zeb to take boy’s apple

We walked to the end of the street to the Elk Fest booths.

Some visitors and booths

Some visitors and booths

There were some booths, and some tourists, but not like previous years. After wandering, we stopped at McDonald’s for another snack.  What a surprise.  When we entered, they had two large yellow ducks on the counter.  Of course Zeb and Soapy had to have pictures with them.

Could be family reunion

Could be family reunion

They could have been our duck mothers.  McDonald’s employees told us that they sponsor the rubber duck races in late May, so that is why they have the big ducks.  Like we said:  Estes Park has lots of festivals. On the way out of town, we saw lots of elk in a park.

Elk relaxing

Elk relaxing

Some standing, many resting and some walking.  We have seen lots of elk since we became the duck family, but each time they are so majestic and wonderful. To get to Estes Park from Denver, you should get to Black Hawk.  You can do this by taking I-70 to Highway 6.  Heading toward Black Hawk, you will come to Highway 119 that goes past Black Hawk.  Continue past Black Hawk on Highway 119 to Nederland.  At the round about in Nederland, take Highway 72, also known as the Peak-to-Peak Highway.  This road will dead-end at Highway 7.  You must turn left.  Highway 7 will take you to Estes Park.  Estes Park is a favorite Colorado town and the main income is from tourists.  We love the town; they need us now, so let’s all go to Estes Park.  It is still fun!

Colorado Duck in Rocky Mountain National Park with Zeb in the summer snow

Living near Denver, a day in the mountains is very common and very enjoyable.   My human calls it a mini vacation.  Since she is retired, we have lots of mini vacations.  We drove to Grand Lake, the western entrance to the national park.  Before entering the park, we visited Quackers Gifts.

Quacker Gift Shop Grand Lake, Colorado

Quacker Gift Shop Grand Lake, Colorado

This is a small gift shop dedicated to my kind.  The shop features many rubber ducks, several smaller than I am, but very cute ducks.  Holiday ducks, specialty ducks and even celebrity ducks.  There is a second store in Manitou Springs, near Colorado Springs.  Definitely go to Quackers Gifts if possible, or visit www.quackergiftshop.com

Entering Rocky Mountain National Park at Grand Lake, we followed Trail Ridge Road to Trail Ridge Store and Café at 11,796 feet above sea level.

Trail Ridge Store in Rocky Mountain National Park

Trail Ridge Store in Rocky Mountain National Park

This is the visitor center, but not the highest point on this road.  Trail Ridge is the highest continuous highway in the United States.  You should drive it, in the summer.  Lots of snow falls here in the winter.

I'm in a 5 foot snow bank in Rocky Mountain National Park

I’m in a 5 foot snow bank in Rocky Mountain National Park

My human put me in this snowdrift.  Snow is cold!

Leaving the visitor center, we saw herds of elk lounging on the Alpine landscape.

Herd of elk lounging at 11,000 feet in Rocky Mt National Park

Herd of elk lounging at 11,000 feet in Rocky Mt National Park

We are above tree line here.  Elk like cooler temperatures in summer, so they go to higher elevations.

Beautiful Elk

Beautiful Elk

Cooler it was.  We needed jackets.  Silly elk, I like warm summer days.

There are many hiking trails in the park.  Some are even paved to accommodate many people, and wheel chairs.  The park has lakes, streams, trails, mountain climbing and camping.  There are hiking trails through the Alpine tundra area.  Normally tundra is found in northern Alaska and areas with similar climates.  The scenery and wild animals are picture perfect.

One more majestic elk

One more majestic elk

This park is wonderful for one-day trips or several weeks camping, hiking, fishing and climbing.  We only spent a few hours here, but it is beautiful.  I, Zeb, will return.

Trail Ridge Road took us to Estes Park where my human rushed to the Taffy Shop.

Pulling Taffy in Estes Park, Colorado

Pulling Taffy in Estes Park, Colorado

The shop has this machine to pull taffy.  There are many flavors and the humans love it.  My mom’s favorite is Texas Pecan.

Rocky Mountain National Park is about 2 hours from Denver.  You can enter from either Estes Park or Grand Lake.  Both are beautiful mountain towns.  Each town has shopping, motels, restaurants, hiking trails, rafting, horse rides and each town has a lake.  I love them both and I think you would also.  Visit in summer or winter, but Trail Ridge Road connecting the two towns is closed in the winter.  Way too much snow.  See you in the park soon.