All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone
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On my first trip into Rocky Mountain National Park I traveled on Trail Ridge Road (U.S. 34) which is the main paved road through the park. On the second visit, I got off the beaten path and chose the Old Falls River Road. It is the original road into the Rockies at this location.
|That is the valley where the Old Fall River Road passes through. The destination is the top of the mountain in the distance. The elevation change is from about 8,500 at the beginning to about 11,800 at the end.|
|The beginning of the Old Fall River Road. It is here that I started thinking about the two meanings of the word "fall". I was hoping, in this case, it meant fall as in "waterfall" and not fall as in "fall off the mountain".|
|One of the many places where I went extra slow in case someone was going the wrong way on this one way road.|
The road was built between 1913 and 1920 with portions of its construction being done by convict labor using hand tools. It is a narrow, dirt/gravel road that has several switchbacks and grades as steep as 16%. The grades are so steep that some of the cars in the early days had to go up some of the road in reverse due to the that being the lowest and strongest gear. The other problem with the steep grades was the gravity feed carburetors on the early cars could not feed gasoline to the engine due to the steep slope of the car. It wasn't long after the road opened that the engineers knew they had a problem so they began designing the Trail Ridge Road.
|The blue sky and white clouds added to the beauty.|
|One of the steep switchbacks with a view down into the valley where I just came from.|
The Old Fall River Road hasn't changed much in the last 100 years. It is still a one way road, narrow dirt road. Even knowing it is one way, I was still expecting oncoming cars around some of the sharp bends. Freedom was creeping along and hugging the high side of the road in places; she was a little nervous at some of the drop-offs, but I calmed her down.
It rained again on this day. The temperature dropped into the upper 40's low 50's and it felt great.
|Rain clouds popped up like they did the other day except now I'm on a dirt road. Not good if it rains hard.|
|Just a plumb pretty picture|
|Those buildings on top of the mountain in the middle of the picture is the place where this old road joins with U.S. 34.|
|This is a panoramic view showing the back side of the lava. It is on the far left side of the picture. The middle of the picture reminded me of some of the volcano calderas I had seen in the northwest, like Crater Lake.|
|The rain was big drops that was surprisingly cold. Almost like it was just before it formed into hail.|
|This is a panorama picture I was able to take at the very end of the road.|
The road is definitely something everyone visiting the park should see. Any car can make it as long as they go slow in places where rain has cut riverlettes in the road. Be very careful though because I saw at least 3 places where the road will be washed out in some of the coming rains unless something is done.
My third visit into the park was to see Bear Lake. It is a pretty mountain lake at about 9,500 foot elevation. There is a path that goes around the lake that is about 0.6 miles long that gives different views of the lake. The path is gentle with only a couple steep places. It is a great walk for the "non-flat-belly's" like me.
|Crystal clear Bear Lake|
|It was like the trees were framing the picture|
|There is evidence of glacier activity in the mountains in the distance. Later, I read that glaciers were 500 feet thick at this spot during the last ice age.|
|I had a hard time culling pictures from this visit|
|A panoramic view with some nice clouds in the sky|
|Some of these large boulders were placed here during the last ice age.|
|I finally found a spot of reflection in the water. There was a little breeze so the water wasn't totally calm.|
|This picture shows part of the trail on the left side|
|Another panorama picture of the lake.|
|This was the best "thinking bench" I found along the path. It was calm and peaceful.|
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.