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A Rocky Mountain Birthday


Romolawnlake_copy     Having already feted Wind Cave and Acadia national parks this month, today the birthday celebration is at Rocky Mountain National Park, which was established on this date in 1915.
    Though Rocky Mountain covers more than 265,000 acres, most travelers to this park stay close to Trail Ridge Road, which climbs up and over the Continental Divide to tie Estes Park on the east side to Grand Lake on the west. Along the way, the 48-mile-long road climbs high above the tree-line and passes through alpine tundra.
    One of my trips to Rocky Mountain was atop my old 700cc Honda Shadow, a great bike for cruising but one that had just a little problem with the thin air at 12,183 feet, the road's high point.
    Rocky Mountain is a great park to visit year-round. I remember taking my oldest son, Jess, sledding down the hillside onto Bear Lake when he was only about 4, and another trip in the fall when we went to Horseshoe Park to listen to the elk bugle.
    I've always wanted to climb Long's Peak, which tops out at 14,255 feet, but haven't quite got there just yet.


I flew out to Estes Park in the late 90s for a rendezvous there of wildlands conservationists. And I couldn't escape the gut feeling that there was a community that should never have happened. I'd be interested in knowing just how many compromises, if any, were made when the park's boundaries were established. Watching tame elk wandering around out back of the Holiday Inn seemed tragic, in the Shakespearian sense.

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