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NatureVISZ - 7 Days in the Rocky Mountains

You might be asking yourself, what the heck is NatureVISZ?! Well, the answer is quite simple, it is a visual story of my adventures in Nature with lots of pictures and videos with very few words! It's kind of like a Facebook post that you can view quickly and spend time on whatever catches your eye. In other words, instead of getting bogged down in reading, you will get the VISUAL HIGHLIGHTS of an adventure in Nature. Welcome to NatureVisz!

Several weeks ago in July '21, around midnight I boarded a sold out California Zephyr headed to Colorado. I slept for a few hours in my coach seat then headed to the observation car to see the sunrise on the Colorado front range. I still had several hours on the train before I reached my destination in Granby Colorado. But first there would be stops in Denver and Fraser/Winter Park.

Omaha Amtrak Station
Sunrise in the Observation Car
Denver Union Station
Fraser/Winter Park Amtrak Stop
Granby Amtrak Station

After arriving in Granby, I picked up my rental car that was waiting for me at the train station and took off for my first destination. For the next week, I planned to visit several areas in Grand County and experience the sights and sounds of this beautiful land. Let my adventure begin!

Rental Car waiting at the Granby Station

Day 1 - Wolford Mountain Reservoir

My first stop was at Wolford, about 40 miles from Granby. My goal was to capture the sunset, then the sunrise before I departed to my next destination. Mission accomplished.

Park Entrance
Sunset on the Marina
Sunrise on the Reservoir

Day 2 - Gore Canyon

After about a 45-minute scenic drive I arrived at the trail head for Gore Canyon. I could see and hear the Colorado River swiftly flowing through the canyon. For the next couple of hours, I would hike through the gorgeous canyon.

Colorado River Flowing through the Canyon
View from the Trail

Day 3 - Monarch Lake

I spent the previous night at the trail head for Monarch Lake as I wanted to get an early start. Around 6:00am I approached the lake as the clouds began to lighten up with the rising of the sun. The lake was like a mirror as I began my hike around the lake.

Monarch Lake
Find Mama and Baby Moose
Arapaho Creek off the Trail

Day 4 - Lake Granby

With over 40 miles of shoreline, Lake Granby is a true Colorado treasure. I spent the entire day hiking and taking pictures before getting back to my camp as the sun began to set. After taking a brief rest, I realized I could be missing a beautiful sunset on the lake. So, I took off in a hurry jogging to the lake shore to get some photos. The 5-minute jog left me gasping for air but I made it just in time!

Lake Granby
View from Arapaho Bay
Sunset from the Shore
Magnificent Sunset Colors

Day 5 - Rocky Mountain National Park

Driving into Rocky Mountain NP from the Grand Lake entrance it looked like a bomb went off as the charred remains of the last summer's fires could be seen as far as the eye could see. Thousands of burnt trees destroyed and many leaning from the fire's 120 plus mph winds. But the colorful wild flowers and new green growth reminded me of the wonders in nature.

Last Summer's Fire destroyed Acres of Trees
New Growth in the Park
Marmot on the Tundra
Views from the Tundra at 12,000 ft
Some Pockets of Snow still remain in the Park
View of Old Falls Road

Day 6 - Grand Lake

There is no place in the world like Grand Lake! My favorite place in Colorado is Grand Lake and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I always feel like I'm at home there!

Grand Lake
Park by the Lake Shore
Park off Main Street
Boat Docks off the Marina
View from the Shore
Marina Store
Park on the Shore

Day 7 - Winter Park/Fraser

My final day started at the Winter Park ski resort. It was early around 6:00 am and I had the entire place to myself much different from the crowds as millions visit here each year. Then I took a trail headed to Fraser to see beautiful wildflowers along the banks of the Fraser River as I headed into the quiet solitude of Fraser Canyon.

Colorful Flowers throughout the Resort
1 of the 23 Lifts in the Ski Area
Ride up to 10,700 ft with views of the Continental Divide
Fraser River
Fraser Canyon

Some Trip Highlights

I hiked over 60 miles, took over 1200 pictures/videos, slept in nature for 5 nights and stayed in a hostel for 2 nights on this trip. The weather was perfect as temperatures rose to the upper 70's during the day and cooled off to the mid 40's at night. The skies were hazy, especially at the higher elevations from wild fires in the western part of the country. The highlight of my trip was just sitting back and observing my surroundings. Here are some of my favorite moments.

Crossing the Bridge Over Arapahoe Creek on the Monarch Lake Trail
Seeing the Headwaters of the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain NP
Watching the Clouds/Reflections on the Dam at Wolford Reservoir
Watching the Sun peak through Clouds from a Mountain Top
I shared the Trail with this Yearling in Rocky Mountain National Park
I followed this Yearling on the Trail for about 10 Minutes
Cabin off the Trail near Fraser
Reflections on the Water from some Condos in Fraser
Nap time on Lake Granby
Walking by this Motel in Granby
I spent 2 Nights in this Hostel in Granby
View from my Campsite at Wolford Reservoir
Scenic Welcome Sign
Elk grazing in Rocky Mountain National Park
Fly Fisherman in the Colorado River
Sunset on the Bowen Baker Trail in Rocky Mountain NP
Stairs to the Top at the Alpine Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain NP
Amazing Views at the Top in Rocky Mountain NP
Soaking up the Views at Gore Canyon
One of the many massive Snow Makers at Winter Park
Hiking on the Continental Divide
Watching Baby and Mama eating Breakfast off the Monarch Trail
Rafters on the Colorado River

Homeward Bound

My train was several hours late in Granby so I decided to just sit outside the station and relax. Some of the others waiting for the train said they were going to a local establishment a few blocks away and asked me to join them. I hesitated, then said no, but changed my mind quickly and said I would join them. I spent the next several hours telling my new friends about my 7 days in the mountains and shared more stories from my other adventures. I could not think of a better way to end my trip!

As the train rolled into Lincoln NE, I knew I would be in Omaha soon. I was looking forward to a warm shower, a comfortable bed, some hot delicious food and seeing my family. There is no place like home, not even the Rocky Mountains can compare!

Breathe in. Breathe out. Move on.


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2 comentarios

Yet another beautiful and breathtaking trip around Colorful Colorado!! My fave has to be the sunset on Lake Granby, absolutely beautiful, Mark! Thanks as always my friend!! Not only do I enjoy reading about it I enjoy the visualization as well. Ron

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Mark Vetock
Mark Vetock
22 ago 2021
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Thanks Ron! Your support and feedback means so much to me! God bless you my friend!

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