August 3: Riding the Ridge and More Horses

Storm brewing in the Rockies as seen from the Ridge Road.

Today, knowing that we had nothing planned, we decided that we should venture over to the west side of the park and see what was going on. Unlike our previous trips to Yellowstone and Glacier I really had no clue of what there was to see. We would find out soon enough.

We were blessed with a sunny morning as we traversed the Ridge Road over to the west side. The kids were pretty much tired of hiking so my suggestion to get out and make the short walk to Lake Irene was met with a chorus of "no's". Too bad, I went anyway accompanied by Todd and Nick.

We stopped at the Holzwarth historic site but when learning that they would have to walk about a half mile to get to the homestead site, everyone but Nick and myself voted "no" again. Outnumbered, I was forced to drive down to Grand Lake, the main economic center on the west side of the park.

Grand Lake was pretty cool. We noted a riding stable just off highway 34. The kids had been badgering us to go for another ride since Monday so we thought this might be the place to do it. As we drove through town we decided that this might be the place to grab something to eat. The boys, Munchkin and I settled on the "El Pacifico" while Sabrina and Yumi opted for pizza. Much to our surprise, the latter joined us for mexican after a few minutes. The meal was great and Matt managed to eat just about everyone's rice.

Now full, it was time to check out some of the shops in town, well, the girls did anyway. The boys and I went down to the lake and pecked off for an hour until 2:00 when we were to meet the girls back at the van. We had arranged for a short one-hour trail ride at the Sombrero Stables so we had to get moving. The skies were beginning to turn their usual afternoon gray to the west and i figured we'd be riding in the rain. We did.

While the Moraine Park ride traversed near-wilderness, this ride took us up and to a new sub-division. Not exactly a wilderness experience but the trails were steep and slippery in the mud due to the rain. Really, it was more exciting this way.

Our ride over, we drove back over the divide back to our campground in the rain. It was 45 degrees at the top which afforded us more views of the seemingly continuous storm. However, we made it back to camp in one piece and managed to cook a spaghetti dinner for all, complete with salad.

After dinner Melaina, Nick, Matt, Sabrina and I hiked back to the ampitheater for a presentation on the Arapahoe Indians while Todd and yumi cleaned up. While the speaker was not a very polished public speaker, he was funny and informative. The girls volunteered to learn his native dances and eventually suckered Nick and I into being their partners. Luckily, no photos exist of this.

The night ended with the family coaxing a fire from our damp wood and making s'mores, which was probably the highlight of Sabrina's week.


Rocky Mountain National Park
The Drive West
Moraine Park
Trail Ridge Road & Trail Ride
Dayhiking the Bear Lake Area
Ridge Road & Trail Ride II
Rafting the Poudre
Back to the Springs
Visiting Coach Paul
Home Again
Final Thoughts
Back to Vacations and Getaways


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