We slept like logs, and got up around 7:30 for a little continental breakfast in the lobby. The Columbine Inn is like a little time capsule in more ways than one. They also have a sattelite radio channel playing kind of "music of your life" stuff from the 1950's & 1960's ... what used to be called EZ Listening when that meant Percy Faith, Ray Conniff, and André Kostelanetz ... a lot of the clientele appears to be a bit older, too, or people with older people, which is fine by me. Quiet = Good when it comes to motels for me.
Now I knew the chances of our campsite being open at 9:00 am was slim to none, but I thought I'd try. And of course, it wasn't. Checkout is noon. What to do until then?
We weren't going to haul the trailer all around the park, but there's plenty of room at Park'n'Ride for the Bear Lake area, so we headed up there (we had everything with us anyway, right?) and caught a shuttle for Bear Lake.
Vicki had only been to RMNP for an afternoon back in 2001 with my cousin Elizabeth and me, so she really hadn't even seen Bear Lake. Not enough time for Alberta Falls or Mills Lake, but we did have time to head up to Nymph lake as well. So our first full day in the mountains did include a mile long hike at 9,500 feet ... not my normal itinerary.
The water lilies were blooming like they were last time I was there, and we got some good reflection of mountains in the background so I got some shots of that. One thing I did notice is there were more people than I'm used to seeing ... but .. eh.
About the time we got to the parking lot the skies opened up, and a deluge ensued. We ended up making a run for it. They didn't have the vinyl map or the pin, and the place was crowded so we went and watched a film on the centennial of the park, which is this year. We headed back toward the campground and saw a small herd of Elk at the Bear Lake Road intersection. Then ended up going into Estes Park for some ice, gas, and ended up finding a couple of things we had to get for Trenton ... one being a 3-D Tyrannosaurus picture and an unbroken geode to discover the inside of. Back to the park, picked up some firewood, and to the campsite for a dinner of buffalo chicken rice on the Coleman stove with chicken and mixed vegetables. And cookies.
The temperature dropped quickly into the 50's at sunset. Definitely glad I brought the heater.
The low that night was 42, but we were at a toasty 66 in the camper.