Day 2- Rocky Mountain National Park
If you missed the post about Day 1 with details about our flight, the RV and where we stayed in Estes Park, check it out HERE.
Day 2 we got up early and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. The park is piloting a new system of timed entry tickets to mitigate the crowding. Though it's a pilot program, I don't believe it's going to go away as the national parks are all seeing record crowds. There are two corridors in the park- Bear Lake and then the rest of the park. If you enter before 9 am or after 3 pm you can enter the main part of the park without a timed ticket. But to enter the Bear Lake area you must arrive before 5 am or after 6 pm if you do not have a ticket.
We didn't realize that this system was in place until about a month before out trip, so when we went to get tickets, the only time frame was from 5-7 am. We got our tickets and planned to enter as close to 7 as possible! :)
We got to the park at about 6:55 am and entered the Bear Lake corridor with our tickets.
Our first adventure was a hike around Bear Lake, which was still patially frozen and most of our hike was in the snow! We were very thankful to have our trekking poles for help walking on the slippery snow and ice. We each had one pole and they definitely came in handy! It was so beautiful. After every bend, I couldn't get over the beauty of the mountains, the snow and the water.
After the Bear Lake hike, we hiked up to Alberta Falls. Less snow in this area of the park, but the falls were amazing! They are super powerfull right now because of the snow-melt.
We hiked back down from the falls and headed to Sprague Lake. This was an easy path around the lake, but gave us a very different view from the frozen lakes up by Bear Lake.
Rocky Mountain National Park was defintely a contender for our favorite park! The experience was so different than what we just left in South Carolina- from the snow to the temperatures to the animal sightings. We loved it!
We also really liked Hermit Park for our campsite. We didn't have hook-ups, which for those of you who are RV newbies like us, means no electricity, water or sewer. But the RV had a 40 gallon water tank, and tanks for the sewer. In addition, the lights, water pump and refrigerator ran on a battery that charged when we drove, but also charged from the solar panels on the roof. Without hook-ups, the microwave, A/C and wall outlets didn't function, but with the weather being so wonderful, we didn't need the A/C and we didn't miss the microwave. We used the generator briefly each morning to make coffee and use the toaster, but other than that, we really didn't miss having no hook-ups. It was a beautiful and quiet place to camp!