I love coffee. My favorite Saturday mornings include waking up early to enjoy a book and a few cups of joe. I am 100% a coffee snob. I prefer Starbucks coffee and prefer my Keurig pods full of hazelnut or french vanilla flavoring. So, whenever Colin and I travel to a different state, I make it a point to find a nearby Starbucks and grab some of my favorite drinks. It is becoming quite hilarious to see all my “Same drink, different state” Snapchats. I know you might be wondering why I am talking about Starbucks and my expensive addiction to caffeine, but there’s a point to my rambling. If you were to ask me where one of my favorite spots to ever drink coffee is, it was in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Same Drink, Different State
The Greatest Coffee Break
Coffee was very needed during our road trip. It was a lot of driving, early mornings, and exercise. Even though we stayed in an Estes Park Best Western, with the largest continental breakfast we have ever seen, I had to be the snob I am, and get some Starbs before heading off to see the park. Judge all you want; that moment sitting near the mountain side, drinking my hot, skinny grande caramel macchiato, was so darn peaceful.
To say we felt small while standing in the mountains is quite an understatement. We didn’t just see the incredible beauty, we immersed in it. It gave us a reminder that there is so much more to the world than us. It was whimsical to think, that at one time, a mammoth could have been walking through where we were standing. Since it was late November when we arrived, the air was crisp, and the park was empty. Unfortunately, this meant many roads were closed. However, it also meant that we were the only two people standing in the middle of a mountain. It was magical.
Rocky Mountain National Park
While we enjoyed our views, there was a big downfall to our road trip. We were a bit too rushed, which gave us limited time at some parks. This was one of them. Rocky Mountain National Park shot to the top of our “We must go back” list. It was so beautiful, serene and alluring, and we didn’t have enough time to explore the way we wanted. In addition, recent snowfall made the roads slick and the winding paths even more difficult to navigate.
An Evening Arrival
In fact, I was freaking out the entire time Colin was driving. We arrived late in the night after visiting both Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Great Sand Dunes earlier in the day. Due to the darkness and weather, we decided to head back to the hotel early. I felt awful for feeling so scared, however, I later found out some history about the Rockies that made me feel a little better. Many of the ridges are known to be dangerous and even some of the most famous explorers, Stephen Harriman Long, for example, were cautious in regard to which areas to explore during certain parts of the year. If the man whom a mountain ridge is named after is frightened, I think I have every right to be. Granted, this was 200 years ago, but let’s pretend the circumstances are similar and say my freak out was justified 😉.
The Estes Park Entrance - After Hours
The morning after my panicked driving, we were able to drive back through a portion of the park to see the views during the day. Again, on a tight schedule, we didn’t get to see as much as we would have liked. While we didn’t get to do any hikes, we managed to stop at a few overlooks to capture the beauty of the mountains. We were also geeked to see all the animals grazing alongside the road. We saw plenty of mule deer and elk watching us drive along, passing by their home.
Mule Deer Wandering Through The Park
Our limited time in the park left us wanting to see and explore so much more. Out of our entire road trip, this is the park we felt like we didn’t get to see enough. The views were so incredible from the road, we can’t imagine how great it would be to hike through this park and feel even more apart of the magic of the mountains. We enjoyed our drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, me way more during the day, and we can’t wait to visit again.