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Our Hike in Rocky Mountain National Park

Before there was Florida and Disney World dreams, there was Colorado. Years ago, my Mom bought us this print of a log cabin that hung on our wall in many homes we lived in. Mountains in the background, a creek running along side of the log cabin, with our name painted on the mailbox out front. We had been to Colorado years ago, it was just one of those trips that didn’t work. And as much as you hate when that happens, you make lemonade out of lemons and see it as an opportunity for a do over. Thinking on how to celebrate our Birthiversary this past year, Colorado seemed like an easy choice. Time to be alone, enjoy the sites, and celebrate our lives. Last time we came, we had car troubles. So much that it died at a rest stop, and even after fixed, and we still pressed on, we still had very little confidence it in to make the Mountains. Being so close to the Rockies last time, we swore we would do them together this time.

I am almost angry that Craig and I didn’t enjoy the National parks more with our kids as they grew up. We were focused so much on Disney and Florida that we never really thought about much else. But now having the National Parks bug, it’s all we talk about seeing these days. I crave the peace of the trees and sunshine, over crowds and more crowds. Yes, still love my Disney, but there is a different magic found in nature. We are headed for several of them this year for our 30th Anniversary, we can’t wait!

We had to make park reservations ONLINE for Rocky Mountain National Park, specifically for “Bear Lake” area. All of $2, they have you put a time in you will arrive, or choose the time they have left, and that’s about it. Have a park pass or buy one at the Ranger Station, purchasing online is always a plus as well. As of 2023, they announced they will STILL be requiring reservations to get in. Keep that in mind if you are headed there this year. I do know they have an option later in the day to come in after a certain time if you didn’t have a reservation. My brother and sister-in-law did this and were able to get some sightseeing in.

After checking in at the Ranger Station, we started to drive in, and Craig was enamored with the sights of the Mountains and landscapes. So much I had him pull over and let me drive so he could take pics and enjoy it without worrying about running us off a cliff. It was his birthday, I wanted him to enjoy every morsel of Mountain he could. We drove around, pulled over to see wildlife, and then found Bear Lake road with another Ranger Station to check in for that area.  My dear friend Darby, who took me here on a previous road trip, encouraged us to find the public parking lot and take the shuttle up the Mountains and right to the trail.  We were here around 8 a.m., the parking lot was only about a quarter full. Restrooms around the bus stops (pit toilets keep in mind), we used them and were able to board the shuttle very quickly and rode up in about 20 minutes, with an additional pickup and drop off spot along the way.

Bear Lake is the first Lake you see when hiking this area’s trail system, very close to the shuttle drop off so if you want to see something but you don’t want to go for the hike, this is an option. We took pics here ad then kept heading up to Dream Lake and then further up until we had enough.  Craig had never hiked Mountains before, so the altitude was a concern since he didn’t handle it very well on Pikes Peak earlier in the week. We agreed to just keep hiking until he was “good.”  No shame, no worries, no expectations- just enjoying his birthday in the Mountains. It felt amazing to watch his smile grow with every peak we would see. Just a magical day together. I also want to note how friendly everyone was who passed us by on the trails. A kind person took our picture at Dream Lake, another offered again later in a different spot. Everyone who passed us said either a good morning or hello- it was awesome!

For his first time or for any time, we made sure we had bottled water, trail mix, first aid kit, and meds. We would walk for a while, and then take a break. Sometimes it was just to catch our breath, others for a sip of water and something to eat for energy. It worked! We did it at a nice slow pace so that we saw everything, enjoyed the hike, and took the time to stop and take pictures. When I say we never stopped smiling, we didn’t. Although we both did appreciate the hike down more than the hike up.

I highly recommend taking your loved ones to this beautiful National Park, for a drive, for a hike, for a picnic. Just watch for hungry bears, elk, etc…

****Side note, thanks to EVERYONE who have donated to my hard work. This is what I do for a living, and it is a passion for me, so tossing me a couple bucks below helps me SO MUCH with everything needed. If you can’t, please consider subscribing to the blog, LIKING the blog post, and sharing any content you enjoy– it helps me out SOOOO much! I love being able to bring you all these amazing places so that YOU can do them as well. I work mostly on donations so thanks again.

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