This year’s Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Councilors’ meeting took place in Denver, and this being peak season, both for fall foliage and for the elk rut, I took time afterwards to do some sightseeing.
The original plan was to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. The US government shutdown had happened the day before my arrival, and I thought about canceling my hotel room in Estes Park but ended up deciding to go anyways. I left town and took the Peak to Peak Highway, as that was the only route into Estes Park. This little town was recently ravaged by floods that took out many of the roads. Now, the shutdown is taking its toll.
My first encounter with wildlife was right as I drove into the town borders. Right near the Estes Park Visitors’ Center, elk wandered the streets and golf course. Bugling bull elk herded the cows while causing traffic jams.
The next day, I did some exploring. All entrances to the park were barricaded off. Even the small side entrances and trails had posted no trespassing signs. I went to the local gear shop and the visitors’ center to get suggestions, and according to both places, all local trails and many of the roads are closed. I ended up doing some scenic drives along the Peak to Peak Highway and also into the Wild Basin area. I also visited the Estes Park Seventh-day Adventist Church.
I was supposed to stay another night before heading back to Denver, but that afternoon, I figured it would be better to check out and relocate to a different town. Breckenridge has a reputation for its fall color route. The drive along I-70 was beautiful, and I arrived just before sunset. Per the hotel’s recommendation, I took the scenic drive along Boreas Pass Road. Stands of quaking aspen in various stages of fall color flank the road, at places forming a tunnel of golden leaves. With the snowstorm that blew through the previous day, some areas were just past peak.
From there, I returned to Denver via Highway 285 across the Continental Divide at Hoosier Pass. With Rocky Mountain National Park being closed, this trip was very different than what I had planned.