The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Horseshoe Park Overlook

Sunday, August 9th, 2015 in Colorado
Horseshoe Park Overlook

Today I made a quick trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park to renew my annual pass and to drive around the park for an hour before heading back home to catch up on laundry and cleaning. It didn’t me take long after passing through the Fall River entrance station to discover that the park roads were as busy as a bumper car rink and it was no time to attempt a relaxing, scenic drive. My best bet for an enjoyable visit was to pull off, park up, and find a comfortable chunk of granite on which to sit and stare at the mountains.

As you can see by the photo above, that approach worked well. Instead of inching along Trail Ridge Road in an endless conga line of cars, I spent an hour taking photographs and soaking in the view from the Horseshoe Park overlook which includes (from left to right) Mount Chapin, Mount Chiquita, Ypsilon Mountain, and Fairchild Mountain.

By about two o’clock I started my journey home. As I drove out of the park I made note of the various license plates I saw along the way. A random sampling included plates from New York, Florida, Iowa, Texas, Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin, and California. I don’t envy those folks their drives home.

My drive home, though comparatively short, was done in silence because I had forgotten to bring a CD with me—I usually swing by my local library and check-out a random CD to listen to on my mountain drives, but forgot to do so today. Without a CD, the radio is a feeble fallback—the local stations are all lost as soon as you enter Saint Vrain Canyon west of Lyons and the airwaves remain inundated in static until you reach Estes Park, which makes for a scenic but soundtrack-less drive.

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Assortment

Lily Lake
Lily Lake
Today’s forecast was chock-full of snow flurries and grim temperatures which meant that many hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park were likely to be treacherous.
Emerald Pools
Emerald Pools
By the time we got to Zion National Park, I had racked-up what I can only characterize as a rather measly post-op hiking record. I had completed just two modest hikes, both of which had left me entirely wiped me out.
Middlefork Savanna
Middlefork Savanna
There are suddenly hints of fall everywhere. The morning air is dewy and condenses in the early hours of the day, forming tiny droplets on windshields and rear view mirrors.