Thursday – August 29, 2013
Rocky Mountain National Park – Estes Park, Colorado
We departed Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland, Colorado at 7:15 a.m. Time to head to a cooler climate in the mountains of Colorado.
We arrived at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, located a short distance from the east entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park, at 10:00 a.m. We picked up a park map and visitor information in preparation for our extended visit. This visitor center and the Kawuneeche Visitor Center at the west entrance provide free WiFi Internet service.
There are four campgrounds located within the park that will accommodate RV’s: Asplenglen, Glacier Basin, Moraine Park and Timber Creek. All campsites at Asplenglen and Moraine Park are reserve only sites. All campsites at Glacier Basin and Timber Creek are first-come, first serve. The Glacier Basin campground is closed for 2013 due to the U.S. government sequestation. The campgrounds provide restroom facilities with flush toilets, but no showers. There are no electric or water hookups, but water spigots are dispersed throughout the campgrounds. Moraine Park and Timber Creek campgrounds have dump stations.
Since we did not have reservations, we selected the Timber Creek Campground as our home base and arrived there at 11:30 a.m. This campground is located on the west side of the park, 40 miles from the east entrance. To reach this campground, visitors must take the Trail Ridge Road, starting at an elevation of 7,840 feet and ascend to an elevation of 12,090 feet and then descend to the campground elevation at 8,900 feet. Trail Ridge Road is a nicely paved two-lane road, with steep drop-offs and no guardrails. Higher altitude sections of this road will provide a tense-driving situation for some drivers. It is not an uncommon sight to see some drivers driving down the middle of the road or driving on the center yellow line, when no oncoming traffic is present.
Due to the Bark Beetle infestation, all of the trees have been removed in the Timber Creek campground. Bark beetles are native insets that have shaped the forests of North America for thousands of years. Bark beetles range from Canada to Mexico and can be found at elevations from sea level to 11,000 feet. Rocky Mountain National Park is just one relatively small area where trees are dying from the beetle epidemic. There is no effective means of controlling a large beetle outbreak in such a vast area as the park’s backcountry, which comprises about 95% of the park. Therefore, in the backcountry, bark beetle populations are allowed to fluctuate under natural processes.
The lack of any shade trees at the Timber Creek campground is not a deterrent for us. The cleared area provides an excellent source of constant sunlight to power our solar panel and a clear view of the southern sky for our DISH satellite. In addition, the temperature is in the mid-70’s during the day and in the mid-40’s at night, so this makes for some very pleasant and comfortable weather.
We selected campsite 59, which is a very nice site with a clear view of the majestic mountain peaks towering before us. We will spend seven days here exploring the awe-inspiring mountain vistas of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Before turning in for the night, we decided to take a walk around the campground. Walking at this altitude, especially at our age, tends to leave one short of breath with very little physical exertion. We were rewarded for our effort with the sighting of a moose with her calf, grazing alongside the edge of a stream close to the campground. A perfect ending to our day!
Camping Fee: $10.00 per day with our Golden Age Pass.
Total miles traveled today: 104
Tomorrow another adventure begins.