We picked up Erik on Sunday, and headed northwest under a bright clear sky. Forty five minutes later we were entering the city of Boulder. On the other side of the town the road began a winding climb. Estes Park is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, with an altitude of 7,522'. The name Estes comes from an early settler, not the model rocket manufacturer (I didn't know that). Our lunch stop was at a bagel sandwich shop, where Maggie found some souvenirs to buy. Then we drove over to the Stanley Hotel that Erik had found out about. This was the hotel used in the Stephen King movie "the Shining". The view from the front of the hotel was phenomenal!

Stanley hotel

Estes Park view

The desk clerk at the hotel gave me directions to Rocky Mountains Park, and Maggie volunteered to drive while the two photographers looked for scenic vistas. The road twisted through the park going from grassy slopes to snow capped crags. We stopped at various sites to capture the beauty of the mountains with our cameras.

Ansel Oasen

A location on Deer Mountain was our highest point, around 10,000'. The highest point in the park is over 12,000'. There were quite a few tourists joining us on this gorgeous day.

Rocky Mountains

elk 1
On the journey down we passed a herd of elk feeding alongside the road, but there wasn't any place to park. I told Maggie to turn around as soon as it was safe, and drive up past the herd. Then we found another place to reverse course, and this time we slowly passed the elk with Erik photographing from the front seat while I was leaning out the open sliding door of the van (still seat belted). It reminded me of the times I photographed out of helicopters for the Army.
A little while later we were entering Estes Park again when we spotted a bigger group feeding in an RV park. We were able to drive into the camp and I setup my camera on a tripod for close-ups. The elk weren't bothered and continued to wander the campsites.
elk 2

Upon returning to Denver Erik showed me “Caboose Hobbies”, a building the size of a Michaels that was full of model train paraphernalia.
caboose 2
caboose 1

We ate supper at an Italian restaurant that Erik and I found on our first trip. Later that evening I helped him with a photo project by posing in a park. Maggie made me keep my clothes on, though. Then it was off to Wal-Mart for more supplies. Finally we said goodbye to Erik at his dorm and went back to the trailer to prepare for the return trip tomorrow.

foto ace