Colorado: Tundra Hike: August 2017

On the way back from Estes Park, driving back along Trail Ridge Road we stopped at the Tundra Communities Trailhead. This trail is half a mile from trailhead to end one way. The trail gives you the opportunity to view the beauty of the Alpine Tundra without harming it, as long as you stay on the path.

As we walked along this trail I caught a glimpse of a pika as it scurried around the rocks that it lived in. They look like fat little hamsters but are actually related to rabbits. This one didn’t hang in view long enough for me to get a picture but it was nice knowing that the wildlife was around.

We started the hike at more than two miles above sea level. The air up at that altitude in thin and cold, even in August. It didn’t help that a wind was whipping up. In the distance a storm was moving. The wind angled the rain in to great diagonal sheets and the clouds emptied themselves over the valley. We should have turned around the moment we saw the storm but we almost to the end of the trail so instead we picked up the pace to make it before the deep gray clouds reached us.

There is a giant rock formation at the end and beyond it a dip into the valley that was filling with rain. A rainbow stretched out before us, as if a guard against the storm. Once we made it to the end of the path we took our pictures quickly before heading back to the trailhead. Cold, stinging rain hit us as we hurried along the path. There was no place to get away from it until we made it back to the car.

As we headed back down Trail Ridge Road it was that time just before twilight when the animals begin to move. We came across a herd of elk and a calf loved modeling for pictures.

Hiking is a fantastic way to be one with nature. Let me know about your favorite trails or the ones you home to conquer. Safe travels! Photos by Keltin and Laci.

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