How can you not love Colorado?
Magnificent Pristine beauty and outstanding scenery, along with an abundance of wildlife, can be found within the almost 266,000 acres that make up Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.
It’s hard to find a place in the Rocky Mountains where you cannot or will not enjoy the overwhelming peace and serenity found there. Everywhere you look, everywhere you could possibly travel to in this great Park, you will find the quietness of the mountains, the calming tranquil waters and the peaceful valleys more than inviting.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a favorite among many visiting mountain climbers, hikers and nature and wildlife seekers who find great joy in being able to take their time traveling a miles long stretch of road on the east side of the Park known as Trail Ridge Road, beginning their journey from beautiful Estes Park, Colorado.
Along this road, visitors can take in the absolutely breathtaking beauty found throughout Rocky Mountain National Park while sightseeing and traveling through to one of the Park’s more grander lakes, named appropriately enough, Grand Lake, which is located on the west side of the Park.
Trail Ridge Road will take you straight into the very heart of Rocky Mountain National Park while traveling along one of the ridge areas of the mountain which crests at roughly 12,200 feet. Definitely not for the faint of heart.
During your travel up this massive mountain, you will find a wide variety of hundreds of beautifully colored tiny, and oftentimes fragrant, mountain flowers and other wild plants and blooms which bear a striking contrast to the many breathtaking towering summits spread out before you in this great Park that is internationally known for its calming crystal clear mountain lakes which perfectly reflect the true grandeur of this mountain range.
There is definitely no shortage of Wildlife to be found in Rocky Mountain National Park, and depending on the time of day for your travels, you are most likely to see:
• Bighorn Sheep
• Black Bears
• Yellow-bellied Marmots
• Mountain Lions
…along with some of the smaller critters such as Mountain Squirrels, Chipmunks, and wild Rabbits.
Animals are not the only thing you will enjoy seeing while at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Again depending on time of day and season of the year, you may also have a chance to be able to see some of the Parks most unique birds such as:
• The Mountain Chickadee
• The Red Crossbill
• Clark’s Nutcracker
• The White-tailed Ptarmigan
• The Three-toed Woodpecker
• multitudes of different hummingbirds
• and many more…
Your visit to this Mountain Park would not be complete without also seeing its huge variety of beautiful caterpillars, colorful butterflies, as well as interesting amphibians and reptiles.
Another perk? Any time you go near the glass-like waters of the Rockies many streams and/or mountain lakes, you may spot some of Colorado’s most infamous fish such as the cutthroat trout, suckers, and sculpins.
While sightseeing and enjoying the truly awe inspiring closeness to nature and wildlife can be really exciting and fun, there is nothing more exciting than – nor is there anything more relaxing than – resting near the top of the mountain close to Long’s Peak, which has a very impressive elevation of approximately 14,260 feet.
During our visits to RMNP, we were not only taken aback by the absolutely gorgeous views, but also found this Peak to be a refuge of sorts.
Taking Colorado’s Hwy 7 South from Estes Park for about 9 miles, we came to the Long’s Peak Ranger Station, located at the Long’s Peak Trailhead, and which also has a small campground for those wanting to stay in the area and camp out in a tent for up to 3 nights on a first come, first serve basis.
Words cannot describe the incredibly peaceful setting we found there.
Surrounded by a variety of beautiful trees, mountainous landscape and scenery as well as small critters galore, we decided to explore the area, enjoying the quietness of this particular atmosphere which can only be found in the extreme wilderness.
We walked through a beautiful treed area that was busy with some of the mountains smaller animals until we found a slight opening upon a large flat mountain rock which overlooked the Peak.
The view we found from there was absolutely incredible, the Natural Pristine Beauty of the mountains unbelievable at such a high elevation.
There were so many trees adding different colors to the rugged mountainous terrain. Colorful native plants and the fragrant, sweet aroma of some of natures finest blooms filled the air, giving one an instantly giddy feeling at knowing you are ….THIS CLOSE…. to being at the top of one of the highest mountain peaks found in the United States.
The air was amazingly crisp and so clean you could not help but feel grateful for the opportunity to be able to breath it in, filling your lungs with its pureness. Being here definitely makes one feel healthy, young, and just as ALIVE as the vibrant mountains which were surrounding us.
With nothing around us but the Beauty of Nature and hearing nothing but the soft, calm churning of a nearby bubbling brook, my husband and I decided to get married right at the site of that rock at the top of the mountain overlooking Long’s Peak.
No words could ever fully describe the moment. It was the most perfect experience I have ever had in my life.
The beautiful soft musical chimes of the pine trees as they swayed in the gentle breeze, the fresh crisp air softly blowing through our hair, the majestic mountain views – complete with wildlife abounding, the soft scampering of small animals all around us, the many songs of the birds singing their approval of our presence among them, the calming effect of the waters found in the brook – churning ever so gently in tune with all of God’s Creation around us….
As we exchanged vows that day, we made this quiet spot overlooking the mountaintop our Secret Place where we knew God had met us and had given us His personal approval of our new life together.
After our marriage vows had taken place and we became man and wife, a friend of ours who is a professional violinist then began to play the most beautiful songs which could be heard echoing out into the farthest parts of the valleys and the mountains around us, truly making the moment one that would remain in our hearts and minds – memories that would last for a lifetime.
Yes, the Rockies hold a very special place in my heart, and for those who desire a deeper experience with nature, wildlife, the rugged outdoors – and especially for those wanting to experience getting closer to God – you are sure to find whatever you are looking for when you visit Rocky Mountain National Park.
Tip: When visiting RMNP to view wildlife, I have found there is more wildlife activity in the earlier morning hours before the sun fully rises and before the warmest part of the day causes the animals to hide away from public view while taking shelter in the shade from the heat.
Tip: While traveling to destinations that have high altitudes, be prepared for sudden strong winds and unpredictable weather patterns, which come frequently with the territory of the mountains and surrounding areas.
Tip: Marriage in Colorado – Colorado is one of the few states in the United States where you are allowed to perform your own wedding and/or exchange of vows without having to be licensed or ordained clergy – as well as is one of the few states where you can marry with or without witnesses present to sign your marriage license.
A Marriage License can be issued through any Colorado County Clerk’s office with proper identification and can be used in any county in the State of Colorado for up to 35 days after receiving it.
You must also make sure you file your marriage license with the state after you have performed your marriage ceremony. The legal age to marry in Colorado without parental consent is 18 years of age.
For more information on Colorado Marriage, please visit Colorado’s Office of the Clerk and Recorder website.