Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Welcome to Rocky Mountain National Park
Alright! So many pictures!
Sunday morning after a hearty breakfast we left for Estes Park which is about an hour north of Boulder (with traffic). When we got the the visitors center's backcountry office it was like walking in to a restaurant and looking at the menu. The ranger/clerk greeted us with "Good morning! how are you? now let's see what's good today..." and proceeded to describe the daily specials -aka walk us through which campsites were available and telling us of the gorgeous trails around them- I thought it was really funny, it almost felt like we were shopping for an outdoor experience! Specially since we had to pay $20 to go camping and another $20 to get in the park.
And so we booked us a nice campsite on cub lake. Our camp is setup across the lake in the picture on your left. It took us almost two hours to cover those 3 miles because our backpacks were so heavy :-(
After setting up our tent we left for a 4 mile hike that started up very steep uphill and then went downhill slowly, and then it sort of leveled out. We ended up in bierstadt lake which was probably one of the most beautiful landscapes I have glanced at, and take my word that the picture on the right does it no justice.
When we got there Andre read the wrong time from his digital camera and so we thought it was an hour later than it really was. So we started heading back at a fast pace afraid that we'd get stuck in the dark. When we got to camp (starving by the way) it was only 7:20pm!! it was then when we realized Andre's clock was wrong, but we were too busy eating our delicious dinner to care. I could have eaten a shoe and it would have been delicious, that's how hungry and tired we were. We had brought some of my scrumptious vegetarian chili for dinner (recipe follows) though I should warn you it has this effect of making your sleeping bag a little stinky.
After dinner I read a book until around 8:30pm when there wasn't enough light to read anymore. Then me and Andre were like "soooo.... what do people do when they go camping?" we were suddenly very bored and wishing we'd brought some playing cards or something. It was also extremely windy outside and so all the trees were rattling, it was incredibly loud. Around 11pm we gave up on trying to fall asleep and we started chatting about food (only because Andre was hungry, he is insatiable). Eventually we fell asleep, probably around midnight, only to wake up at 5:30am in a chilly 45 degree weather! I was cursing at the summer solstice for being so close and at Andre for waking me up. After our humble breakfast of an apple, a banana and a cliff bar we headed to fern lake and on the way we also encountered fern falls. It was still really windy that day (and early!) and so I was really cold. Did I mention there was snow on the ground when we got to the lake?
Then it was back to the camp to pack up and head home. During our little adventure we saw chipmunks (actually they are relatives of chipmunks, they have some fancy name), birds of many kinds and sizes and even some elk! like seven of them!
Before we left town I insisted we stopped to see the infamous Stanley Hotel were the movie The Shining was filmed. We weren't able to go inside because they wanted to charge us $5 to park. But here it is:
L's amazing vegetarian chili:
- olive oil
- 1/2 onion (diced)
- 1 bell pepper (diced, the color of your preference)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (chopped)
- 1 clove of garlic (chopped)
- 3 large roma tomatoes (diced)
- 1 can of corn kernels (drained)
- 2 cans of red kidney beans (drained)
- 1 can of black beans (drained)
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of chili powder
- 1 tablespoon of cumin powder
- vegetable stock
Cover the bottom of a soup pot with olive oil (a couple of tablespoons). The pot must be on medium-high heat. Saute the onion and pepper for a couple of minutes until they start sweating and add the garlic and jalapeño, let it cook for another minute. Salt and pepper to taste.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the tomatoes and corn kernels. Then add the spices (also to taste, feel free to vary as you like). Add the three cans of beans and make sure everything is mixed evenly. Add vegetable stock until the vegetables are ALMOST covered (you don't want it to be too soupy). If stock is not available I usually just use water and then add a cube of vegetable bouillon.
Serve warm and top with cilantro, green onions, cheese, tortillas, etc! the choices are endless!