August 1: A Trail Ride through Moraine Park

View of the alpine tundra from Trail Ridge Road.

Morning came without incident other than our nocturnal boys refusing to wake up. We again loaded up on Lucky Charms and fruit for breakfast and decided that this would be a good day to go for a horse back ride since it was sunny and clear.

After a quick clean up we made the short drive down to the Moraine Park Stables and reserved seven spots for the 1:30 ride. Now with about 4 hours to kill we decided to run up the Ridge Road and check out the alpine scenery. The van still struggled with the steep grade but we made it up to the Cut Rock pulloff. Just I remembered from my only other visit here in 1976 the scenery was fantastic. We decided to hop out of the van and hike the path leading to some odd rock formations. We were at 12,000 feet and the short stroll upward was more difficult than I had imagined---even worse than lugging 35 pounds at 10,000 in the Bighorns. I once again to have concerns for my fitness level for my upcoming Glacier backpacking trip.

Once to the rock formations we were treated to an even better view. the kids climbed on the rocks while Yumi and I chatted with a Larry Bird look-alike and his family. We would later meet them at the Alpine Visitor Center. We spent a few hours up there then walked back down to the van and went to the Visitor Center. We had no problems finding a parking spot and entered the gift shop/snack bar. We ordered chili dogs and sodas at a cost of nearly $70 and viewed a small herd of elk on the slopes below.

Yumi and the kids riding down to Moraine Park.

Needing to get back to Moraine Park by 1:15 we descended from the tundra to the riding stables. Our two hour ride was about an hour too long for most of our butts. Near Beaver Creek we passed the staging area used for the missing ranger search and rescue operations. All of the horses performed well except for Nick's lame-ass "Irish" who insisted on lagging behind.

After dismounting we hopped in the van and made a short stop at the banks of the Big Thompson River so the kids could splash around a bit. I spent most of my time carrying the girls from rock to rock as the water was a bit too deep for them to make it across the river. Yumi, Todd and Matt decided to relax in the van. What party poopers!

Not feeling like cooking dinner, we decided to run over to Estes Park and grab some subs at Subway for a mere $60.

We made it back to the cmapground in plenty of time to walk over to the campground ampitheatre and listened to a presentation on the Lost Lodges of Rocky Mountain National Park. By the time the presentation ended it was time to get everyone to bed. A good day but I was looking forward to tomorrow when we could go on a hike.


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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