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Day 52 - Rocky Mountain National Park - Flowers, Falls, and Root Beer Floats

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

When I got up, Larry was already awake and had a coffee made.  George got up when I did.  We didn't have any milk.  He ate Raisin Bran without it. 

Years ago he would have had to go to the store to get some, he couldn't flex.  Now he just goes with it and doesn't complain.  It is nice.

 First on our agenda was to get groceries so we could pack a lunch for our trip into Rocky Mountain National Park.

We all piled into Larry's car. 

At the first intersection, Larry sneezed his signature sneeze.  Instead of "Ah CHEW" he said, "Aww SHIT". 

George and I laughed and I said "Bless you." and Larry said, "Thanuverymuch" like Ed Sullivan (For those of you who are younger, Ed Sullivan was a variety show host back in the sixties.)



The grocery store wasn't open yet so we went to the convenience store.


Now we had stuff for our lunch.  We went into the park.  There was one place in the park that Larry wanted to see.  It was a big meadow that they have a camera set up in and he has been checking in on the webcam.

We didn't see any animals other than chipmunks.


We were surprised to see almost all the taller trees are dead.  The hills are grey with dead trees.


The first visitors station was having a program on flowers with a little hike.  So we went to that at 10 a.m.



The ranger explained the different parts of the flower.  Too many new words to learn.  I remembered the same ones I had learned in science classes in school.





After a long information session we drove to a parking area.  The ranger put stuff around his wheel to keep from rolling.  It must be standard practice in the mountains.  We were in a flat parking lot, not on a hill.


He said to walk up the trail and count the number of different flowers you find.  Then he will talk about them.

I got caught up on taking pictures of them instead.  I counted 17 different kinds of flowers.


Looking down at the flowers and grasses.  Looking up at the magnificent surroundings.




 SOOO many dead trees.  I asked the ranger about it. 

He said it is a beetle native to the US.  I learned later that the only thing that stops it is a deep freeze (harsh winter) or a fire.  The damage is from Canada to Mexico.  The beetle goes under the bark and lays it's eggs, and the larva destroy the tree. 

The younger trees are resistant.  So once the beetle has gotten all the older trees it is done.  The forest comes back.  The beetle returns about every 15 to 20 years.


We learned that a dandelion is not one flower.  But each petal is it's own flower.  And when it goes to seed you see it has many many seeds.

Flies do a lot of the pollinating of some flowers.
 
 Each flower has evolved to attract it's pollinator with smell, color, design.


 This little boy was in our flower tour group.  He was interested and knew a lot already, like he had been on these kinds of tours before.








The ranger gave us magnifying glasses to see the flowers up close.





We left the flower lecture before it was done.  TOO MUCH INFORMATION for our brains.

We went back to the meadow and had our picnic lunch (PB & J of course).

Then off to a waterfall hike.  Larry doesn't hike a lot, so we chose a short hike of less than one mile.






In the thin air, the uphill climb still had us all panting within a short time.   There were a LOT of other tourists there.  The park gets 2 million guests a year.






We decided to go back to our cabin and rest a bit.  We saw some cars parked and people taking pictures.  Larry stopped and I walked back with my camera.

I was stopped by a ranger who said, be careful, don't get too close.


So I didn't get too close.  A moose, laying in the grass by the side of the road.


Later, George and I went back to town to get ingredients for rootbeer floats.  The moose was still there, so we ran across the street and got a quick picture.


I took a side street and it turned out to be a dead end.  But we got to see this neat little Nash and road-side daisies.


YEAH!!! ROOTBEER FLOATS!



We rested and read and I tried to blog some in the afternoon.  Then I fixed dinner with my left-over kale salad and rice.  Not Larry's cup-of-tea.  He is a burger eater.

Then we went back to the park for a sunset hike in hopes of seeing some wildlife.





We didn't see any.  George and I stood and watched a black spot way out in the field.  Was it moving?  Was it getting bigger?

It remained a black spot.


Nothing in the big meadow either... at least that we could see.


Don't know much about what we will do tomorrow.  We want to used the library internet so I can upload pictures.  There is a band supposed to play on the town square at 5 p.m.   Fun things to look forward to.

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