Rocky Mountain National Park was my first experience with the mountains.  I was about 6 years old and it is one of my earliest vacation memories. I’ve always thought of this place as one of my favorite hiking spots, although oddly enough I haven’t actually be there all that many times. It’s been nearly 15 years since my last visit.

Not much has really changed over the years, as should be the case in a national park. With one notable exception… it is MUCH more crowded than it used to be! A phenomenon not unique to just this park. Aside from that, this place is every bit as majestic as I remember from back in the day.

The girls and little baby man particularly enjoyed any trail that involved water. Whether it was a lake, a stream, or a waterfall. I have often commented that quality nature photography with small children in tow is a difficult proposition. The best shots often require being in a particular difficult to reach spot at odd times, either very early in the morning or at dinner. Bad weather often makes for interesting shots as well, but who wants to be out in the rain with kids AND camera equipment?

The vast majority of what I see is spectacular scenes but with exceptionally boring mid-day sunlight. Which makes for a very ordinary snap shot. So most of the time I just enjoy the trip and if something presents itself I take it and hope that by the end of the trip I’ll have a couple “keepers”!

rmnp-1A small series of waterfalls with the Aspens that were just beginning to become bright and colorful!


rmnp-6Aspen trees are rad. Especially in the fall. I have a small cluster of them in my backyard but by the time fall rolls around their leaves have mostly been scorched brown by the summer heat. Nothing like the bright yellow you see in their native habitat!



As much as I love the Ozarks, a scene like this is tough to beat!



A hole in the clouds let the sun shine on this small spot at the base of the mountain.



My original plan was to climb this mountain with Emma but we ended up settling for a slightly smaller one, though not much smaller.


rmnp-4I took this photo while standing precariously on a wet rock in the middle of this stream.  I tried a similar stunt a few years ago while visiting a different part of Colorado but slipped and fell in, jamming my index finger in the process.  It hurt for almost 3 years and the picture ended up being pretty meh. This one turned out better and without the penalty of a bum finger.


rmnp-5Ahh and really what is more glorious than a grove of Aspens backlit by the sun.  Especially with a dark backdrop of Fir trees.  Here in the Ozarks our fall color has a lot more variety, but the bright Aspens of the Rockies are really a sight to behold.