Well, the only tougher find than a cell signal must be a shower. I was awake throughout the night last night. The storm was really bearing down and everytime it let up a bit and I was able to get back to sleep the bottom would fall out again, the thunder would rumble and the night sky would light up like the 4th of July…wait a minute. It finally stopped raining around 4 and I was up at 6. With everything packed up I cracked open a can of Starbucks Coffee (I was thinking yesterday) jumped behind the wheel and started to head out the park. As soon as I came around the second corner I noticed the mesa was shrouded in fog and the valleys below were filled with clouds. I quickly began to drive from point to point looking for the right shot…..not too much fog….not too little…the just right Goldilocks approach. I finally settled in at Murphys Point. I hopped out, ran down to the point, it looked good so I ran back up and grabbed all of the cameras and then back down to the point. The shot wasn’t quite right so I began to make my was around the large outcropping and quickly was on point with a beautiful view, you could hear the rainwater still running down the canyon walls, the clouds were shrouding much of the mesa and valley but you could just make the canyon out. I am not sure the photos will work for me but the experience was awesome. I then moved along out of the park, stopped to photograph some train tracks (how can you experience the west and not include train tracks?) and then I made way to I70. I hung a right for the east and started chasing the horizon. It wasn’t long before i was in Colorado…well, it was long enough to be able to recite the headlines on the Morning Edition loop. I gassed up in Grand Junction and made way towards Denver.
I stopped for gas and Whole Foods at Frisco (man there were some cool people in that store and all of the employees referred to me as Dude…and I responded with yes mams and no mams). The young lady at the coffee bar (her name tag read Taco) said I was about 30 minutes from Empire, Colorado…where I could jump on 40 towards Rocky Mountain National Park if the mood struck me. That sounded great to me. So, I was only on the highway for about 3 minutes when traffic came to a standstill…it took me 2 hours to cover 30 some odd miles. It was fun at first, I got to people watch, drink coffee, chow down on my new stacks…but after about an hour and a half I started to get a litle stir crazy. I’ve never been so happy to see exit 232- Highway 40. What was really crazy is that I was the only car heading north on this road…and this road was going up…and up…..and the rain was coming down harder and harder and the road was increasing the number of hair pin turns and also the number of football size stones to dodge. This was crazy. And then…..and then…..I look out the window and there are snow capped mountains around me…I couldn’t believe it, it was awesome! Eventually the road levels out and opens up to all of these ski towns in mountain valleys…the rain didnt let up but the ascent and the curves did.Before long I jump on 34 into the park and right at the entrance….I mean there is a big ol sign that says Rocky Mountain National Park and there are a handful of moose chewing on grass. Disney couldn’t have done it better, then again just before the visitors center. i was in awe. I got checked into the park and then headed to Timber Creek Campground- of course, you know what I want at this point- a shower and a power outlet. The campground had neither. i picked a spot- #49, stuck my tag on the post and went looking for trails to hike. I hiked the Hidden Lake trail where I saw a family of deer and then the Miranda Point trail where I came across snow. Talk about excited, I made snowballs, a video….I couldn’t believe there was snow here. It was great. So there was this Georgia boy in shorts and a hoodie playing in the snow in the Rocky Mountains. I continued to see wildlife, elk, moose, so many flowers. As night set in I went back to camp, attended the ranger lecture on hiking an then got set up in the back seat of the toyota….its still raining. Until tomorrow- adios.