This year’s cheap thrills will have to wait

One of my favorite things to do around here is drive up Trail Ridge Road above Estes Park. It runs from east to west through Rocky Mountain National Park, crossing the Continental Divide. Billed as the highest continuous paved road in the U.S., or something like that, it includes more than eight miles above 11,000 ft. and a high point of 12,183 ft. Whatever that description brings to mind — it’s better than that.

I like to buzz up to the parking area at Rainbow Curve (10,875 ft.) and sit there overlooking the valley more than 2,000 ft. below. Chipmunks scurry over and around the broad stone wall. “Camp robbers” (gray jays and Clark’s nutcrackers) dive in to snatch whatever tidbits the tourists drop, leave, or offer (the birds will take food from an upraised hand; they don’t care about “Don’t Feed the Animals”), and far below, hawks or eagles soar on the rising currents. Depending on the weather, I may be sitting in or above the clouds.

Normally the road is open by Memorial Day, but the Park Service is running a little late this year. Something about a record-breaking snowpack …

Plow at work on May 20
Checking conditions on May 24

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