US Trip 2017 – Day 26 – Rocky Mountain

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The route this day took us from Fraser to Denver, through Rocky Mountain National Park. The last National Park on this trip.

Approximate time on road/out caching: 13 hours
Total miles driven: 282 mi / 453,8 km
Total cahes found: 37
Total DNF: 1
States visited: Colorado
Famous places visited: Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park
Most memorable cache: GC7AEPW Gander (DNF)
Biggest surprise: The amount of people in Rocky Mountain NP
Weather: Sunny, rain
Highest temperature: 77°F / 25°C
Lowest temperature: 45°F / 7,2°C
Roadwork: Yes

Let’s start with a DNF

We didn’t get up too early, and left the hotel around 8:30am. I noticed an unfound cache on my GPSr the night before (they are tagget with [Nf]), and when I saw it again now, I decided that we should give it a try. There was one DNF log on it already, so we didn’t have too high hopes.

The cache required us to wade out in a small mountain lake. The water wasn’t exactly warm, and it wasn’t very clear either after I walked in it. We spent some time, searching a huge area around GZ. But we couldn’t find anything. At least it woke me up!

Another GeoTour

Along the way to the park, we stopped at several caches in the Across the Divide GeoTour. Some we had on our plan, and som we just happened to be too close to not find. As usual, there was a lot of nice vistas to photograph here as well!

Parking nightmare, again

The first cache we stopped at after getting into the park, was GC5E54 Ribbon Of Life. And we quickly realized that this park visit would be another exercise in patience. The small parking lot was full, and we barely found a spot to park, after another car left.

But the trail was peaceful, and not crowded at all. Just the parking lot, and the end of the trail 😛

The next parking lot was even worse, with people parking places they’re not allowed to park. We decided to just skip that cache.

To the top

We stopped at two more earthcaches, including another one with parking problems at the Continental Divide. After that, we continued to the top. And you guessed it, another full parking lot.

Took two tries before we finally managed to get a spot. But we probably shouldn’t complain too much, we are after all contributing to this ourselves, taking up a space…

While there, we took the opportunity to get some food, some souvenirs and some photos of the view. And we found GC230BW Alpine Visitor Center Cirque, of course. Being this high, higher than our entire home country, does have a huge impact on your body. So when we had enough, we continued to get back to lower altitudes.

Earthcaches everywhere

There’s a lot of earthcaches in this park, and we stopped at several of them. Most had epic views and plenty of reasons to stop anyway. And we also visited a couple virtual caches. In most national parks we’ve visited before, the amount of virtual caches is about the same as the amount of earthcaches. But in this park, it’s mainly earthcaches.

A quick detour

After we visited GC5B29 Big Tom’s Rockey Mtn. Virtual Cache, we saw a sign to a visitor center. And since we collect visitor center stamps, both in our National Park passport, on our trip plan, in our stamp book and in our newly purchased (early on this trip) National Park book, we wanted to visit it.

So we did the short detour. So we thought. Turned out it wasn’t short at all. We ended up going all the way to Estes Park, stopping at GC5D5MW Gateway to the Rockies along the way. And then enter the park again going back up almost to where we turned out to start the detour. So we could find GC1W09V Longs Peak.

Just a couple more

We did have a few more caches planned, on another detour. But we decided to only find two of them, GC1W0A5 Moraine Park and GCGDRY Danger!.

After leaving the park, we did two more stops in Estes Park, before continuing towards Denver.

Challenge accepted!

When we were almost at I-25, we stopped at a bunch of challenge caches. Mostly related to earthcaches and finds in different amounts of states and countries. We stopped at a total of 10 challenges, and took some photos of the amazing sunset.

Oh, we need another bag

Over the past four weeks, we’ve collected quite a lot of souvenirs, t-shirts, candy and other cool stuff. We’ve also started buying Christmas presents. So we have a lot of stuff to bring back home. The day before, we realized that we might not get it all in to our two suitcases and one bag. So we stopped at a Walmart, to buy luggage number four. Good thing we booked our Icelandair tickets early enough, so that we had four pieces included in the price 😀 Sadly they’ve changed that this year, and we won’t get that included another time.

Just one more virtual

After the stop at Walmart, we stopped at two more caches in the area. The last one was GCHHJY Northglenn Veterans Memorial. And actually finding that place in the dark, turned out to be quite difficult. But after a detour to turn around and go back, we finally found the correct parking spot.

Then it was time to get to the hotel. We had a lot of packing to do…

Our Denver ritual

After emptying the car, and getting almost everything into our room, it was time to head to Uno Pizzeria & Grill. The place we always eat when traveling home from Denver.

We selected a different hotel this time, and not our regular Denver hotel. And when we walked past the hotel we use to stay at, we’re glad we didn’t. It almost appeared to be closed, under heavy renovation.

The food was great, as always. And then it was time to pack…


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