Being in nature is being in my happy place. The US' National Parks provide plenty of unspoiled nature. The Rocky Mountain National Park is huge, beautiful and abundant with wild life. It's a pleasure to go and make all your senses happy. If you have kids, it's even better. Running in fresh air, checking out the wildlife is bliss for them. This particular shot was on the Trail Ridge Road. A portion of it was closed and this is as far as we could go by car.
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In late September one Fall I had a free weekend to run around Denver, Colorado. I love the outdoors, and decided I wanted to do a day hike through Rocky Mountain National Park. I geared up with a day pack, jacket, SLR camera, bear bell (oh yes that’s right), and lots of cliff bars and water. I did a 12 mile hike to Sky Pond. Turned out to be Elk Fest. It is a time of the year that Elk come down out of the mountains to mate, but they become much more visible to tourists as well.
I took two buses to the top of the mountain, and the hike was perfect. Great experience of being alone in the wide open. On my way back I was in a rush to catch the last bus, but when I got to the station I found it was held up by Elk on the road so I had to wait. I decided to hike the last little distance to my car on foot though a less traveled trail. About halfway on this mile road, the sky got dark, I found fresh animal tracks and droppings, and the trail started to fork every which way. I was getting in trouble fast! Elk started making calls from every side of me, INCLUDING WHERE I HAD JUST COME FROM. I could see 50 Elk all around me coming up the mountain. I was convinced I was about to be a blip on tomorrows newspaper. But just when hope was gone a man came walking on the trail. After I swallowed my pride I asked him for help. He guided me back to my car, straight though herds of Elk. Amazing! He told me "just don't look in their eyes." It was an amazing and heart pounding experience.