I couldn’t resist this photograph of the BIG snows up at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Wow!
There wasn’t a ripple in the water on Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park when I took this photograph a couple of days ago. It was one of the most beautiful days that I’ve ever been up there.
Aren’t these photographs just spectacular? It doesn’t get much prettier than this!
I have seen this black and white butterfly in Rocky Mountain National Park several times this summer but could never get a good photograph. It kept flying away.
This particular day last week Phil and I were up at Bear Lake and it landed right on the rock we were walking by. Wow! What luck!
It is called a Weidemeyer’s Admiral and is just stunning! It is black and white on the outside, but when it folds its wings you can see some red underneath. In the top photograph you can even see its tongue curving around. It likes to feed on willows, aspens and cottonwoods.
Have you ever seen a Weidemeyer’s Admiral? Isn’t it just gorgeous?
You can see burned out grass in Moraine Park along the Big Thompson River with the still smoldering fire of Forest Canyon in the background.
The higher mountain on the left in this photograph is Steep Mountain, behind the Big Thompson River. It still had some “hot spots” that the firefighters are fighting. You can see a plume of smoke from a “hot spot” near the top of the ridge.
Today there were 503 fire personnel helping with the Fern Lake Fire. 400 of these are firefighters. Tom, from Emergency Management in Medford, Oregon was educating me on the path of the fire, what is now going on now in Forest Canyon and on Steep Mountain and how the “hot spots” erupt up on the ridge of Steep Mountain.
We were able to drive over to see the cabin that was burned in Moraine Park. You could see the exact path of the fire and where it hit and where it hopped over. This was the only cabin to catch on fire, with the fire stopping a few yards beyond. You can see in the background that the grass was totally untouched in patches. Only one tree nearby was totally charred. Our hearts go out to the people who lost their home here in Rocky Mountain National Park. We have hiked in this area by this cabin so many times.
This is the tree that was totally charred by the flames from the cabin.
This shows a firefighter yesterday fighting the fire in the forest. Photo courtesy of Channel 7 News (Major King KMGH-TV / KZCO-LD).
Right now the Fern lake Fire is 40% contained. The fire fighters are doing an amazing job helping to stomp out this fire. Thanks to all of the fire fighters and fire management personnel for helping us here in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. We are ALL so very thankful!
Rocky Mountain National Park News Release: Bear Lake Road is one of the most popular scenic roads in Rocky Mountain National Park and provides year-round visitor access to a variety of wonderful recreational opportunities. More than 2 million visitors a year are estimated to drive on Bear Lake Road and last year over 440,000 riders took advantage of the shuttle buses along the corridor.
Beginning on March 5, visitors should expect major construction work on the lower section of the road for the next two years.
The construction will take place on Bear Lake Road from the junction of Trail Ridge Road/Highway 36 to the Park & Ride – Glacier Basin Campground intersection, covering 5.1 miles. The work will be similar in scope and impacts as the first phase of reconstruction on Bear Lake Road which was completed in 2004, and took place on the upper 4.3 mile section of road. This major project will involve construction of significant retaining walls to improve safety and drainage. In addition, a 0.9 mile section will be rerouted away from Glacier Creek, in order to prevent impacts to wetlands and riparian habitat and reduce costs. Repairs will be made on the Big Thompson Bridge to improve safety. Structural deficiencies will be corrected in the roadway and inadequate parking and pullout design will be improved. This project will widen the road and improve the road surface to better accommodate park shuttle buses. Safety associated with winter snow removal will be enhanced by the wider road.
Beginning on March 5, park visitors should expect at least one 30 minute delay, Monday through Friday, on the lower section of Bear Lake Road. As the construction proceeds, visitors should expect rough road conditions.
From May 29, through October 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Bear Lake Road, approximately one mile west of Moraine Park Visitor Center to Bear Lake, will be accessible by free shuttle bus only, seven days a week. Private vehicles will be allowed both directions prior to 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. Visitors in private vehicles, who make the 9:00 a.m. cutoff time, will be allowed to travel eastbound throughout the day. All visitors, in private vehicles or shuttle buses, should expect at east two 20-minute delays both west and eastbound through the construction area. There will be no construction delays between Park & Ride and Bear Lake. There may be night closures during the construction. Night closures will be announced at least two weeks prior to occurring.
The park’s three shuttle routes will be modified during the construction. The Bear Lake Route will run between Moraine Park Visitor Center and Bear Lake with stops at Hollowell Park, Park & Ride,
Bierstadt Bus Stop, Glacier Gorge Trailhead and Bear Lake. The Moraine Park Route will run between the Moraine Park Visitor Center and the Fern Lake bus stop with stops at Moraine Park Campground, Cub Lake Trailhead and Fern Lake bus stop. The first bus will depart from the Moraine Park Visitor Center at 7:00 a.m. and the last bus will leave at 7:00 p.m. The last bus of the day
will leave Bear Lake and Fern Lake Trailheads at 7:30 p.m. Bear Lake Route buses will run every 15 minutes but may be delayed during periods of road construction. Moraine Park Route buses will run every 20 minutes.
The Hiker Shuttle Route will make stops at the Estes Park Fairgrounds Parking Lot, the Estes Park Visitor Center, the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, and the Moraine Park Visitor Center where passengers will transfer to either the Bear Lake Route or the Moraine Park Route. The first bus will leave the Town of Estes Park Visitor Center at 6:30 a.m. and the last bus will leave the Moraine Park Visitor Center bound for Estes Park at 8:00 p.m. The Hiker Shuttle will run on an hourly schedule early and late in the day; switching to a half hour schedule from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Most facilities along Bear Lake Road will be available to the public during the reconstruction project. However, Glacier Basin Campground and the Tuxedo Park picnic area and shuttle stop will be closed. Numerous pull-off areas may be closed at times during the construction. Moraine Park Visitor Center will be open, however visitors should expect congestion and very limited parking. Visitors should also expect congestion andlimited parking at the popular picnic and angler area in lower Moraine Park, north of the Big Thompson River.
During the next two years, visitors who plan to go to the Bear Lake area will have easier access if they plan ahead, hike early or hike late, and carpool. All trailheads along the Bear Lake Corridor, the Park & Ride, Moraine Park Visitor Center and Beaver Meadows Visitor Center have limited parking spaces available. For those visitors who want to access the Bear Lake area between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., the best option will be to park in Estes Park at the parking lot near the Fairgrounds or the Estes Park Visitor Center and take the Hiker Shuttle in to Rocky Mountain National
Rocky Mountain National Park is approaching its Centennial anniversary in 2015. Bear Lake Road was completed in 1928 and until 2003, no significant improvements were made. No major road work has taken place on the lower section for more than 80 years. When this project is complete, just prior to the park’s hundredth anniversary, it will conclude over 47 miles of critical improvements on park roads since 2003.
The Federal Highway Administration awarded a $28 million contract t0 American Civil Constructors and is administering this project on behalf of the National Park Service. American Civil Constructors is based in Littleton, Colorado.
This project involves 5.1 miles of road and access to another 4.3 miles. There are 110 miles of road in the park. This project does not include Trail Ridge Road. Information on the Bear Lake Road
Reconstruction Project will be available at www.nps.gov/romo, the park’s recorded road status line (970) 586-1222 or through the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.
On Tuesday, February 28, weather permitting, Bear Lake Road, from the Park & Ride to Bear Lake, will be temporarily closed from 6:00 a.m. to approximately 11:00 a.m. for pile burning operations. The road will be closed for visitor safety, due to the location of the piles and the intense heat from the burning operations. If the burning operations are not completed, temporary closures may also occur on Wednesday, February 29, and possibly Thursday, March 1 during the same times and location.
Once the road reopens, there will still be actively burning piles but the intensity will be less. Smoke may be present. These piles consist of beetle-killed trees, dead and down material, and hazard trees along the road corridor.
For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please contact the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.
Subject: Pile Burning Will Temporarily Close Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park – February 22
Pile burning will temporarily close Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on Wednesday, February 22, weather permitting, Bear Lake Road, from the Park & Ride to Bear Lake, will be temporarily closed from 6:00 a.m. to approximately 11:00 a.m. for pile burning operations. The road will be closed for visitor safety, due to the location of the piles and the intense heat from the burning operations. If the burning operations are not completed, temporary closures may also occur on Thursday, February 23, during the same times and location. Once the road reopens, there will still be actively burning piles but the intensity will be less. Smoke may be present. These piles consist of beetle-killed trees, dead and down material, and hazard trees along the road corridor. For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park please contact the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.
Just when I thought I wouldn’t write another blog about the coyotes in Rocky Mountain National Park or Estes Park, we saw a pack of five of them in the park!
One coyote was walking on the side of Bear Lake Road so we stopped to take some photographs. The coyote stopped and looked at us and I got some good pictures. Then it crossed behind the car and went across to the other side the road.
On the other side of the road there were four more coyotes…wow! A pack of five of them traveling together! I’d only seen that once before in the park.
We clicked away but only got three of them in the frame. So here is another blog about the coyotes in Rocky Mountain National Park that I thought it was pretty cool!
Winter storm photos from Rocky Mountain National Park, February 3, 2012.
Early this morning we had received 16 inches of new snow at Bear Lake, elevation 9, 475 feet, and it was snowing at the rate of 1 to 2 inches an hour. A half inch of new snow was reported this morning at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center on the west side of the park.
Park roads are snowpacked and icy and good snow tires, 4WD vehicles and slow speeds are recommended. Temporary road closures may occur throughout this current heavy storm cycle. We have had two reported motor vehicle accidents in the park this morning. Fortunately, there were no injuries. It continues to snow on the east side of the park, ranging from light to heavy.
Backcountry travelers should be mindful of elevated avalanche hazard conditions and check with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) for current forecast information.
Visitors can call the park Information Office for updated road conditions – (970) 586-1206.
(Sent yesterday from Rocky Mountain National Park-Kyle)