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Rocky Mountain National Park

Longmont, Colorado: The days are flying-by during our stay in Longmont. The guys have golfed, the gals have lunched and window shopped. Dave and I had dinner with our old friend, Rob (he was Dave's assistant during the 2018 Olympic Trials planning), and his family. Rob and Angie also live in Longmont - mere blocks from my brother - and they have the most adorable 4-year-old daughter (and I know adorable).

The history of Longmont is so interesting. Settled by a group of people from Chicago, it was founded as the Chicago Colorado Colony. The railroad arrived in 1873, helping the community grow. So many interesting tales/lore as well: 1) Maybe he was Charles Dickens grandson, or maybe he was not, but he moved to Longmont, built an Opera House, and a mansion. Someone (maybe his son, maybe not his son) shot him dead as he sat in front of a window of his mansion. 2) The only shoe store in town was owned by a Jewish man who lived across the street from a block-square park. He also ran an illegal poker room in his basement. The KKK were quite active in Longmont at the time, controlled the city council for two years, and would hold rallies in the park. The shoe seller could identify every cloaked Klansman by their shoes! The City of Longmont owns/runs the water, sewer, trash, electricity, and internet service. The only utility contracted out is natural gas. Very cute town, lovely historic Main Street, with obvious historic relevance considered during any renovation, a ridiculous amount of parks, rivers, lakes, green spaces, golf courses, streams, bike paths, Farmers Markets, great restaurants, and a zillion microbreweries. No wonder my brother - and his family - are so happy here.

Ladies who lunch - chicken salad with balsamic dressing at Tangerine
Breakfast: Yoghurt and granola with the famous Colorado peaches

We gave my bro a day off from entertaining us and drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park, less than a one hour drive from Longmont. We have been to the park previously, but we think it was 18 years ago. I'm not sure what it is about us on this trip, but we are obviously visiting National Parks on the days the animals are not released from their pens. The last time we were here, we saw a herd of over 200 elk running across a meadow. (Kinda the same goose pimples as when we saw a huge herd of bison come down a hill and cross the Madison River in Yellowstone years ago.) This trip? Just a few animals sighted. We saw a small rafter of turkeys, one Yellow Bellied Marmot, a few male deer, a coyote running across a meadow, and an bull elk the size of a Buick. I swear, he was the biggest elk I have ever witnessed - and no photo as he was up above the road, laying down, and there was a sheer drop-off on the other side of the road and I WAS NOT STOPPING. He was magnificent, with a ginormous rack, covered in lush velvet. The ladies are going to love him.

Wait? I was driving? Yes, I was. DT was getting a bit of vertigo with the sheer drop-offs/no guard rails. So much so, he asked his blind (I am a licensed driver) wife to take over the wheel.

Mule deer - ready to rut
Longs Peak (where Longmont gets its name)
Bear Lake
Alluvial Fan - water broke through above the falls in 1982,
causing this waterfall (note sheer walls above the fall)

It was 60 degrees and windy in the park today. We drove all the roads, bought all the postcards, hiked the hikes, and stopped at all the turnouts. Our picnic lunch needed to be consumed inside our car, due to the winds. Though Dave didn't feel great, and we were huffing and puffing at 12000 feet, our day was still lovely because we were together and we were in another beautiful National Park!

NOTE: To keep down the crowds, 191 entry passes are granted within every two-hour "day time" window. Permits are $2, and can only be obtained on-line or via an app. The passes for today (1st of September) were released at 5p (mountain time) August 31st, and it was easy for me to snag one at the time we wanted: 10a-noon. Your car must enter the park within your scheduled window. Two types of passes are available - one gives you access to the main park road, and another gives you access to the main park road and another shorter road south to Bear Lake. We bought the two-road pass, and entered at the east entrance in Estes Park. If you don't have the permit to drive to Bear Lake, you will be turned away at a check-point. Once inside the park, with your entry permit, you can come-go all day in/out of the park... but trust me, you will drive out to the end of the road and return to Estes Park, exhausted.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Until my next update, I remain, your rocky correspondent.