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Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Grand Lake brings back a song from my college years:
I'm on the top of the world
looking down on creation
and the only explanation I can find,
is the love that I've found
ever since you've been around.
Your love's put me at the top of the world.
At the Alpine Visitor Center we took a short trail to an overlook. It is a steep trail that climbs to an elevation of 12,005 feet. Three years ago I had to stop several times, and was breathing hard when I reached the top. Today I was amazed to find that I am in much better shape. I kept a steady pace (10 pound camera bag and all) and was not winded when I arrived at the top. The view is indescribable - you really are at the top of the world.
Rare tundra plants are identified along the trail. My husband pointed out Alpine Parsley and said, "Here's something Mom hasn't tried yet to feed us on that Blood Type Diet." Ha Ha - very funny.
After we crossed the Continental Divide, we saw a moose grazing in a swampy area near the Beaver Ponds. I've seen moose in Canada and Wisconsin and Wyoming, but there are only 50 in Rocky Mountain National Park, and it was a thrill to see one. On the return trip, we saw five big horn sheep grazing above timberline, another rare July sighting.
Lunch was at the Boardwalk Cafe in Grand Lake. I ordered a veggie omelet and substituted a side salad for the hash browns and toast. What an outstanding salad it was, containing several different greens including fresh spinach and dandelion. There were chunks of broccoli, carrots, celery, and even a generous helping of jicama. I had a little bottle of extra virgin olive oil in my backpack to use for dressing. The owner worried that the omelet looked lonely on the plate without the traditional breakfast starches, but I assured her that I was very, very happy.
We picnicked in our motel room and watched a movie tonight. Seedless black grapes were on sale at the local grocery store. I had never tried them, and they were sweet and delicious. My son had a turkey and roast beef sandwich; my daughter peanut butter and jelly; my husband soy cheese with a little turkey. No sandwich for me! I mixed a small can of spinach and a can of tuna with a little olive oil.
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