|On the road again, early next
morning, we made it to Boulder, Colorado by mid-afternoon. If you are
looking for a new business venture, we suggest an internet café
in Boulder. There
isn’t one. If you are stuck for on-line access, head to the local
library and surf for free (the content restrictions are pretty tight but
at least you can check your e-mail…for that new job offer, or whatever).
Leaving Pearl Mall in Boulder (it’s the chic and trendy place for eco-sensitive boys and girls, don’t you know) we headed north to Estes Park, on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park and a mere 2,800 kilometers from home. Here we found a KOA to stay in (a little less than ideal since again there was no grass and no shade but otherwise far less offensive than the evil Yogi Bear campground). Pitching our tent on gravel isn’t really our idea of camping but the scenery more than made up for it – mountains all around. Next stop will definitely try and find a national park (or at least something with soft ground and shade) to call camping.
Downtown Estes Park is a cute town with lots of shops, chocolatiers and mountain gear/wear outlets. We were able to further diminish the available line of credit on our visa cards with new Prana wear and local guidebooks - only the essentials were purchased ?
After a morning of shopping and gearing up we were ready for a hike
but let’s eat lunch first. Servings of buffalo meat and potato
(real stick to your ribs stuff) strengthened us for the 1.6 mile hike
up to Gem Lake. The trail, well marked and impossible to get lost on,
essentially switchbacks up the side of a mountain, gaining 910 feet
in altitude. The lake at the top is small but prettily enclosed by rock
formations begging to be climbed. Panoramic views of the valley and
Rocky Mountain National Park are spectacular. It took us approximately
an hour and a half to walk up and less than 20 minutes to run down (plus
a rest at the top to laze in the sun). Why run down? That’s what
hikers/campers do when threatened by quickly approaching thunder and
rainstorms and the sinking realization that the fly is still laying
across the picnic table for drying in the sun.
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