Need a New Twist - RMNP?

Sep 27th, 2009, 05:20 PM
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Need a New Twist - RMNP?

OK, we're in a rut.

Within the past five years, we have been to Yellowstone, Denali, Glacier, Banff, Waterton, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Sedona, Yosemite, Tahoe, Okanagan, British Columbia (driving Vancouver - Banff but not really lingering), and several other places. The problem is, we've gotten into the habit of going to the same places over and over again, and it's time to break out of the rut. Time to do something new - can you help us break out?

First, some details: I have to plan trips around a timeshare location. Next, we try to include a National Park visit. At 54 and 62, we're no longer wanting strenous hikes but enjoying day hikes of a few hours, plus lots of mountain scenery and wildlife. Since we are living in Central Florida, we look forward to crisp weather and bracing mountain air. (Yes, it takes a couple of days to acclimate to altitude, so I factor that into our trips.) More than anything, we'd like some mountain views, wildlife, maybe a little snow, and a break from the heat.

I'm thinking of Rocky Mountain National Park, this time earlier in the year (we normally travel in the fall). Timeshare spots will be in Estes Park. Would fly into/out of Denver, and spend a grand total of 7-10 days. Timeframe: Beginning Friday before Memorial Day.

If anybody has other recommendations, I'd love to hear from you. For RMNP and vicinity, would love to hear suggestions.
sludick is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 06:05 PM
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We drove through Estes Park and RMNP for the first time about a month ago, and I must say we were underwhelmed. There are no doubt a great number of hiking trails in the park, but an enormous number of trees have been killed by the pine beetle, and the dead trees became all I could focus on as we drove. I don't think I could spend 10 days there unless plans included some driving trips in the area.

You mentioned you've been to Yellowstone, but did you also explore Grand Teton National Park? Likewise, you mentioned going to Banff (the town or the park?), but have you been to Lake Louise and Jasper National Park? Kootenay National Park? Yoho National Park?
Jean is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 07:09 PM
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We drove through Rocky Mountain NP in May 2008. Trail Ridge Road didn't fully open until the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, the day we were there. The snow along the crest of the road was about 12 feet deep.

It's a lovely place, though, despite dead trees. You could also spend some time around Boulder and the surrounding area.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Sep 27th, 2009, 08:38 PM
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The trees killed by the pine beetle are mostly on the west side of the park, away from Estes Park. That should not deter you from visiting! 7-10 days would be an excellent amount of time to really explore all the east side of the park has to offer, as well as allow you time to take day trips to places like Boulder, Loveland or even Denver, which is only 90 minutes away. There is an abundance of hiking trails for all different abilities - no need to be super fit to enjoy lovely walks around some superb scenery. Just keep in mind that the weather really won't be summer like - snow will still cover the higher elevations and snowstorms are still possible. The wildlife, especially elk, are very evident which is a great attraction.

Estes Park is a decent gateway town with a fair number of choices in dining and shopping. It can be crowded on weekends, but there is so much room that you don't have to be part of the crowd if you don't want to. Since we live near Denver, we're fortunate to visit frequently, in all seasons. It is a great park and I'd highly recommend you check it out!
tekwriter is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 05:54 AM
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The pine beetles have really hit the Tetons hard as well. We took a day horseback ride just a week or so ago there, and the devastation up close was heartbreaking. Our trail guide said there are more trees dying or down each time he goes up. At one point he had to dismount to saw through a beetle-killed tree that had just fallen across the path.

Ugly little suckers, too. And not so little -- one got into our car, and I'd say it was about the size of a walnut.
sludick is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 07:07 AM
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Perhaps you should consider something truly completely different, as it appears you want different but are looking into the same sort of thing just in a different but overall similar place. That's fine, but you may have an opportunity for something more novel.

Have you considered New England, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or countries outside of North America? A cruise? Would you be interested by "hiking" in a city? What are the parameters of your time-share requirements? And, when would you like to travel?

If you want a real "break out," you may want to consider something completely different!
AJPeabody is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 09:03 AM
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That time of year would be great for the Arches/Canyonlands area, or you could also hit New Mexico, Santa Fe, Taos, Bandelier NP.
emalloy is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 09:44 AM
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Thanks, AJPeabody. Well....New England does sound good. We do want to avoid beaches and tropical locales, considering where we live we are sick of that. And getting out of cities is a big driver as well.

We did go on an Alaskan cruise last May -- I enjoyed it, DH not so much. But he is contemplating a trip to Hungary (one of those family heritage treks). Overall, we need to stay in country next year, though - although Canada is do-able. Not so much giving up on doing the things we have been doing, only finding new places to do them.

We also really enjoy historical/ruins type of thing. Briefly viewed Mesa Verde a number of years ago (with kids and I had an injured eye, so didn't see much). Maybe a stay in Durango area??
sludick is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Eastern Canada is neat. I particularly enjoyed Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. The rocky seacoast is very different from Florida.

Durango is nice. We spent a night at the historic Strater Hotel, which was charming with Victorian decor and an excellent included breakfast. Have you been across the mountains to Silverton and on to Crested Butte?
carolyn is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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I live just outside of Mesa Verde and Durango; it is a magnificent area to visit. Lots to see and do. I have many threads on here about the area, if I can answer any questions, feel free to ask or email.

DebitNM is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 02:37 PM
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I was going to suggest southwest Colorado/Utah. I spent a few days in Ouray and just loved it! Wanted to make it to Mesa Verde and the Utah Canyons, but Ouray wasn't the best place to to day trips from. (Could be that I'm a timid driver.)

I also have a timeshare and stayed in Estes Park last year. I enjoyed that, but preferred Ouray. I checked the resort directory for SW Colorado and see Pagosa springs and Teluride have timeshares; they might be worth looking into.
Jackie is offline  
Sep 28th, 2009, 05:07 PM
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I would agree with the suggestion(s) to go somewhere completely different.

Also, late May isn't a great time to visit the mountains, particularly RMNP. Still a lot of snow on the ground and roads can be closed, flowers aren't really in bloom yet either.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 04:22 PM
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Thank you all for your excellent advice.

Carolyn, I did a bit of research and the Canadian east coast looks great; will definitely plan a trip there. DebitNM, Mesa Verde and Durango will shape up very nicely for us - I will have to come back for some specific advice when I plan that visit. Everyone's advice on the best time to visit RMNP and the pine beetle situation have convinced me; now I have to convince DH.

Very much appreciated!
sludick is offline  
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