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May 17, 2005
There were a few exciting places to cover before reaching the Alpine Visitor Center, the highest road in Rocky Mountain National Park, like Harbison Meadows where tiny shrubs dwelled and a fine spot for elk watching. Bowen and Baker Trails; remnants of Colorado River and expanse of prodigious land. Holzwarth Historic Site; follow the dirt road for 0.5 miles and you might find yourself in a total different world. Beaver Ponds West; a tranquil pond, more like a mirror lake, distinctively reflected its surroundings.
Milner Pass was the second-last spot before arriving at the Alpine Visitor Center. Conifers were superfluous and the blue hue pond constituted the largest part of the restoration area. It was an old-growth santuary for elks, the only place where they could roam liberately and protected from elk poachers. Coming to the end of Milner Pass, the road became arduous with increasing acclivity leading to Medicine Bow Curve. At this point, standing up straight and firm became almost impossible, the winds was extremely strong and relentless. Ignoring at this fact, I stepped out of my car and went near to the edge. This offered a good vantage point to the Cache La Poudre River, the beginning of a watercourse that leads to the Gulf of Mexico. Also, found below was a U-shaped glacial valley in which the river lies was buried by ice, submerged until only the highest of the surrounding peaks stood above a sea of white.
The highest elevation in Rocky was Alpine Visitor Center of 11,796 feet. There was a trail ridge store selling mementos of Rocky Mountains National Parks, knick-knack for other national parks and a miniature model of the entire Rocky. Alpine offered the best lookout to the Gore Range, Rock Cut, Rainbow Curver and Forest Canyon in all directions. The wind was fluttering hard and air was crisp. Far below the peaks, forests of pine trees were sprawling. As the altitude climbed, the areas around the peaks were covered with stubborn ice, which refused to thaw even the sun beats.
The facet from Farview Curve was directed at those places that were traversed. I circled my gaze. Rolling greenlands, a curvaceous mile of river, and contiguous mountain peaks were omnipresent. The sky was in iridescent blue but for the most part was adorned with sodden clouds, and a shower might be expected in not more than an hour.
From journal Magnificent of Rocky Mountains National Park
Marina del Rey, California
February 25, 2001
From journal Rocky Mountain High