Grace Wu

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Stop #5: Rocky Mountain National Park

The day after I dropped off Michelle, I went back the next day to pick up Jessica at the airport. After a grocery stop, we headed straight to Rocky Mountain National Park. My first National Park! We parked at Glacier Basin Campground and went on 4.5-5 mile hike on trails that trail riders use. (Which means dodging lots of poop) A storm was brewing, with some thunder but luckily it just sprinkled now and then.

The view during our hike from Glacier Basin Campground.

The view during our hike from Glacier Basin Campground.

Once back at camp, we set up our tent and made dinner. One of the great things about national parks is the programming. There was a small amphitheater at the campground and that night they had a presentation about climbing at RMNP. Right up our ally!

It was a fascinating presentation about Long’s Peak, and the history of climbing the tallest mountain in the park.

The next day we woke up early to drive to Bear Lake, where the parking lot tends to fill up fast. We did a recommended hike that takes you through 3 mountain lakes. It’s a relatively easy hike, 3.6 miles, but we started early to try to beat the crowds.

The alpine lakes are so beautiful, with crystal clear water. At the end of the hike, you could see Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain. There was still snow! The wind was blowing strong and it was chilly. I’m glad I brought some layers. After a snack break, we headed back. I’m glad we started early because it was almost a constant line of people coming up.

After the 2.5 hour hike we still had a long day in front of us. Our goal was to be in Lander, WY by the end of the day.

After RMNP we drove up to Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming. We stopped by Sierra Trading Post and then drive to Laramie for a quick lunch stop at Sweet Melissa’s, a great vegetarian restaurant.

Then we had. 3+ hour drive to Lander. The landscape during the drive was so fascinating. It’s very different from what I’m used to in Ohio and New York. And amazing to see the rolling prairie hills as we drive by.

We finally made it to Lander, and thanks to Michelle for the sweet tip, we set up our tent in Lander City Park for free camping! It’s so cool they let people do that. That would never work in NYC 😂

Cute kitty at the campsite (aka Lander City Park)

Cute kitty at the campsite (aka Lander City Park)