Do It Before You Die: Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park

We sat in the coffee shop, debating what we were going to do that weekend. Would we go to a farmers market? On a hike?

“Just drive,” she said

Drive I did.

We left at 8 in the morning and found ourselves at Rocky Mountain National Park, a place where human existence is limited to daily visitors. Where animals rule with an iron fist.

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It was our red Jeep, built to survive the harshest conditions and the roughest of roads. 

Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in America. At over 12,000 feet, there is about 35% less oxygen to breath. A short mile walk can leave you struggling to catch your breath. It’s like trying to breathe through a straw.

Driving through the gates of the national park, we immediately saw an elk. So graceful and dominant, it wasn’t spooked by visitors. It was amazing to be just five feet from such a massive animal. It had gentle, thick fur, for warmth in the below freezing nights. With antlers up to four feet long, we were frightened to get any closer. 

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The drive through the park takes you further and further away from civilization. The views of the mountains were incredible and the summer heat trying it's best to melt the mountain snow, much still remained. The sheer beauty of being surrounded by wildlife in the mountains and amongst the clouds made for an irresistible attraction to a whimsical adventure.

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The more and more we climbed, the more animals we saw. A baby moose and its mother lay on the side of the road just before two big horned sheep ran across the road and scaled the rocks on the mountains to our left. It was mind clearing to see wildlife in its natural habitat at such ease. 

Distracted by the animals, I was sidetracked to the natural beauty that surrounded me. There were snow-capped mountains everywhere we looked.  We could see secluded lakes that surely acted as a water source for the animals nestled in between the mountains.  

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The mountains have a way of making you smile, no matter who you are or how you feel. It makes your senses come alive. We could have spent the entire week looking at the wildlife and spending time in the mountains, but the road was nearing its end. 

Even when the chaos of the wind strikes, you are undaunted, distracted by the world around you. Nature’s peace moves you as the clouds roll over the peaks. As close to the angels that you can possibly be.

Check out more adventure like this on Instagram at @DenverLiving