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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.