Sunday, June 15, 2008

To The Rockies: Days 5 & 6

(Still waiting on pics from Shaun, I have decided to post the rest of the journal anyway. Pics will be posted some day, I promise)

Day 5, Thursday 5/22

Up at 8. We devoured the continental breakfast while watching the weather. We decide to leave and head south. After checking the weather forecast we decide to drive to Rocky Mountain National Park and hope that it won't be completely booked for the coming memorial day weekend. We re-arrange the car in preparation for the long drive and leave Jackson Hole at 11am. It begins to snow again, and we completely lose sight of the Grand Tetons on our way out. We drive back through the mountain pass and cross the continental divide. Road is covered in snow and ice. I drive until we get to a small town called Lander, there Shaun takes over. Shaun drives from Lander to Reading in heavy snowfall, and it takes forever because the fastest we can safely go is 50 mph. Chris drives towards Cheyenne in blizzard conditions. We follow an 18 wheeler's tracks the whole way so he can cut through the ice in front of us. We finally switch at a farm road exit because I am going crazy in the passenger seat. (Try watching someone else drive your car in a blizzard). The passenger-side windshield wiper rips from all the ice and is now completely useless. We make it to a truck-stop south of Cheyenne and see tornados form over the city. We eat a junk-food dinner at the truck stop and then head south on 25. Glad to finally be out of all the storms, we justified driving through them all day so that we would not have to live in them all week. We get to Rocky Mountain National Park about 10:30pm. We pull into an un-occupied campsite, set the tent up in the dark, and then fall to sleep. Moraine Park campground # 62.

Day 6, Friday 5/23

I wake up early. On my way to the restroom I weaved through a small herd of elk who barely even looked up at me as they grazed. After that I walked down to the ranger station to pay for the night before. The guys were up by the time I returned to the campsite. We decided to drive into town and find a guide book on rock-climbing in the area (we brought all our climbing gear with hopes of climbing in the tetons). We find an actual rock-climbing gym and the guys there tell us all the good climbing spots in the Estes Park area. We head back to Moraine Park only to find out that our campsite is reserved for the night, so we pick another one that is close by (# 71). We pull up the tent stakes and walked across the campground with the tent to the new site. Then we drove south on hwy 7 to Lily Pond and climbed at a place called Jurassic Park. It had some amazing climbs. We had a really nice view of Long's Peak across the valley and when the wind blew hard enough we even would get some snowflakes that looked as though they blew all the way across the valley from those distant snowy peaks. We got back to the car just in time before dark. Back to camp. It started getting cold and very windy. Chris started a fire that was not warm due to all the wind. I went to bed after some hot cocoa and scotch.

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