Day 55. Old Fall River Road

Chasm Falls

Yesterday, my parents, Gene, and I drove up to the Rocky Mountain National Park where we drove on the Old Fall River Road.

This road, only open during the summer, was built between 1913 and 1920. It is 9 miles long, is narrow, and is made entirely of dirt, nothing is paved. Although at this point in time the road is only one-way, originally it held both directions of traffic. Once you have driven on this road, you will know why I point that out!

At the beginning of the road you can find a little booklet with history and points of interest. It is suggested that you pay $2 for it, but whatever you can spare will do. I suggest getting the book because it’s fun to browse as you make your way up to the tundra.

There are pull-offs and stops along the way where you can walk around and take pictures. We stopped at Chasm Falls, a pretty waterfall less than 2 miles from the start. The booklet says that it’s making a pothole at the base of the falls because of a whirlpool spinning rocks around.

fallriverroad38While driving up the road, we were able to see two female elk and their two babies. They were walking along the road, the opposite direction of us, so my dad stopped the car and I tried to snap some pictures. They are so huge! The babies were much larger than I had expected a baby elk to be. They were so cute. I spooked them when I took pictures so they started trotting away. So sad. I’m glad I got to see them briefly though!

We made our way to the top of the road. We ended up a the Visitor’s Center, but it was closed by the time we got there. Gene and I walked to the very top of the tundra. The trail had been closed for construction when we were up there last and I had never been to the top before so I wanted to go. It was cold and I was breathing really heavily, but I made it! Mountains were everywhere, 360 degrees of mountains. It was a nice view.

fallriverroad46We had beautiful views the whole way going up. The colors of the rocks are lovely. The tundra is just breathtaking. And knowing that it takes these plants years and years to grow only a few inches makes it even more amazing.

Once we were along the tundra we saw marmots, a hawk, and pika! I really like pika, they’re one of my favorite animals. They’re small and so adorable. They are fast too! Too fast to get a picture. They blend in so well with their surroundings. They were preparing for winter when we saw them yesterday. At one point, we saw one of them with a whole mouthful of grass and sticks, going to make his nest. I could have stayed there for hours.

But it was cold, getting dark, and it looked like it was going to rain so we headed back home. Yet another adventure I can cross of my list!


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