Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rocky Mountain National Park

Sitting in a Panera Bread store near Boulder Colorado enjoying the great Colorado weather, thinking how lucky I am to have had an opportunity to visit three national parks in the last 10 days, Yellowstone, the Tetons and Rocky Mountain National Park. I have seen some of the most awe inspiring views in the world, not to mention buffalo, moose, coyotes, deer, elk and eagles. Each park has it own unique features, from Old Faithful to the awe inspiring mountains of the Tetons and the numerous 14,000+ peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park. I have previously visited each of these parks over the years and this visit was by far the best. Picture yourself on a scenic drive in your car through the parks and image it in slow motion, which is the sensation one feels while riding a bicycle.

Rode Trail Ridge Road yesterday, the highest continuous paved highway in the U.S., reaching elevations of over 12,000 feet several times. The views from above tree line were amazing. Some great photo opportunities of a herd of elk. The picture of me with the pole behind my bike was at the highest point on the road. The pole is what they use to measure the snow depth when they are plowing the road in the spring and it was over 12 feet tall.

In some of the pictures you will note that the trees are very brown, having been killed by the pine beetle. At places up to 90% of the trees have died. While it seems sad to see all the dead trees, it is Mother Nature's way of regenerating the forest and has happened several times in the last 500+ years. In some places the forest has already started to regenerate itself. Unfortunately, there are likely to be many fires which will destroy homes and communities in the Rockies.

Many thanks to Theresa and David Madden for graciously providing a nice bed and warm shower in Boulder last night.

On my way to Denver today. Having lived there for over 20 years I will be taking the next several days off to visit friends. Plan on being back on the road on Sunday on my way to the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and more mountain passes!

Many thanks to those that have contributed or pledged for the early childhood literacy program of the Panhandle Alliance for Education. If you haven't made a contribution or pledge, I encourage you to do so. Please consider a penny a mile, it will go a long way to helping families get their young children ready for school through PAFE's early childhood literacy program.

I'll be back on line early next week. Until then, enjoy your summer and the great weather.


At July 17, 2008 9:26 PM , Anonymous Scott Dunn said...

Great photos. You seem to have had some great weather along the way. I carried the "Where's Mel?" sign in the parade with Steve Youngdahl. Several people along the way asked. Many of us think about your trip and admire your spirit. Keep going! Scott Dunn

At July 20, 2008 7:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mel, Just returned from Sports Day and now catching up on your last month's travels. You are an inspiration to those of us who do or dream of adventures, big or small. I'm amazed at all the miles you've covered. Don't know if you're hitting the hometown on this trip....
Keep sharing your wonderful pix and blogs; what an incredible adventure thus far.

At July 23, 2008 5:28 PM , Anonymous Pat Donohue/Don Ballingall said...


My buddy Don and I met you at the Trail Ridge Vistors Center/shop at the top of the road. We were riding for two weeks in Colorado and plan on riding across the country next year. Anyway, just wanted to invite for an overnight stay while you are in michigan. Keep up the great job, stay strong and ride hard.


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