Estes Park and a Close Encounter With Elk

A gateway city to Rocky Mountain National Park, we love the resort town of Estes Park.

Estes Park, Colorado

It was overcast with car headlights on the rock.   We liked the shadows on the stone.  Fall River flows from Rocky Mountain National Park into Estes Park.

Water wheel in river by park

We love the water wheel in the river by this small park.   Elkhorn Avenue is the main street in Estes Park.

Elkhorn Avenue

We usually walk from one end to the other, stopping in various shops and often a restaurant.   One of our standard stops is The Taffy Shop.

The Taffy Shop

There are several taffy shops, but we have been coming to this one since mom moved to Colorado in 1975.   The taffy is made right here and it is delicious.  Try the Texas Pecan.   Another regular stop is Laura’s Fudge Shop.

Laura’s Fudge Shop

A few years ago, Laura’s expanded but the shop is always crowded with locals and tourists.   That really says the fudge and more is excellent.  We enjoy Turtle Fudge and Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge.  And the toffee, and the caramel apples.   Yum!   We did our shopping, crossed the road, followed the river and got in our car.

River flows under main street near parking area

This is fall, the rut, or mating season of the elk.   This time of year, we hear the male, or bull elk, calling his mates, sounding like a bugle.   The female may answer with a rather shrill squeal.   The elk often leave Rocky Mountain National Park and wander in and around Estes Park.

Elk herd leaving lawn of Aspire Residence at Stanley Hotel

This herd is behind the Aspire Residences, part of the Stanley Hotel.   There were several humans sitting on balconies enjoying the elk herd.   As you can tell, the herd is gradually moving to another area.   But some are not in a hurry.

Baby elk nursing

This young elk is hungry and trying to nurse, but mom doesn’t stand still very long.   They have moved, crossed a major street, and are now in the golf course.

Elk herd on golf course

The lone male watches the females.

Bull running to keep females together

He tries to keep them together.   This bull does a lot of running, or sprinting, to keep the girls where he wants them.   Oh, a second herd is arriving.

Second herd approaching golf course

They will join the first herd on the golf course.   How will this end?

Two bulls calmly passing

The two bull elk, one from each herd, pass each other, without incident.   But, we don’t think the elk can read.

Tee time?

Only golfers on the golf course.

Elk on the Golf Course

Well, is it tee time ladies?  The elk and humans mingle well.   If the elk want to move, the humans scatter to allow the elk freedom to go wherever they wish.  Further along, a herd is around Lake Estes.

A bull elk in Lake Estes

This bull is cooling off and probably drinking in Lake Estes.   The sun has set.

The Stanley Hotel at sunset

The Stanley Hotel is illuminated by the glow of the setting sun behind the Rocky Mountains.   A beautiful end to a beautiful day.

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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.