Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bookends to a Storm: Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park

The calm before the storm; Bear Lake and Longs Peak
Wouldn't you just know that we would decide to go camping in the middle of flash flood-producing storm at  Rocky Mountain National Park...

We had a gorgeous day strolling around an almost eerily calm Bear Lake, but in the late afternoon the sky opened up with a tremendous thunderstorm. We delayed setting up camp, and when we arrived later at our campsite, things were peaceful and the night skies clear.

The next day, the same pattern built up, a late afternoon deluge, followed by a break, so (having moved to a different campsite) we set up camp and lazily had dinner in Estes Park. When we got back, lightning and thunder were rocking the entire valley, and the skies were opening up with all manner of hail, rain, and wind. We found out there were limits to the "waterproofness" of our new tent, termed the Taj MaHayes by my students. We sat in the car for a few hours, and when things finally settled down, we sopped up the mess and dried off as well as we could. We found out later that the storm dropped inches of rain across much of the park and areas south (Breckenridge got nearly 4 inches overnight).
The morning after the storm
Morning brought a beautiful sunrise, and bizarre looking clouds over the summit of Longs Peak, the highest mountain in the park. There were lakes and new channels all over the campsites. The rivers we saw today were overflowing their banks, including the river in Moraine Park, and the Colorado in the Kawuneeche Valley. It's been a neat vacation....


Gaelyn said...

Oh how fun, camping in the rain.

Spotted Dog Ranch: said...

Hey, get a Springbar tent - you'll never fear rain or wind again (not that you do anyway).

I climbed Long's one sunny day - left at 4 a.m. and still got caught in a lightning storm on the way back. Scary stuff. Throw in that much rain, and wow, just wow.