Estes Park photographer Erik Stensland shot “Dressed in Gold” five years ago, almost to the day, in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s a reminder of what the park probably looks like this week to those visitors willing to make the drive over longer-than-normal routes. Colorado’s recent floods washed out most of the normal access to Estes Park and RMNP, but the shops are open in town and elk and aspen still fill the park.
This particular image reminds me of a truly magical moment in the park years ago. I’d left the car near the Moraine Park campground and followed a narrow trail into a grove of aspen. The trees were so closely spaced I couldn’t see the sky, but the bright sun made them glow all around me. Even the solid carpet of leaves on the ground glowed. It was as though I’d stepped into some fluttering translucent world totally apart from my own, where gold was the only color that existed.