First of all - Rocky Mountain National Park is awesome! There aren't adequate words to describe it.
RMNP is only about an hour from our house, but the drive is hard. It's twisty, narrow mountain roads the whole way - but the scenery is gorgeous. The road follows the Big Thompson River through a deep ravine most of the way, and you're surrounded by hills, boulders, and sometimes aspen/pine forest.
Before we'd been inside the park for five minutes we saw our first elk. Actually, three of them. They were grazing a few hundred yards away from the road, right along the border of a meadow. And - as if that weren't enough - there was a coyote too! It seemed like it was just wandering around aimlessly, since it would walk for fifty yards one way, then circle back, and then do it again. Then we realized that there were actually three coyotes, all circling the elk. I don't think they would have dared to attack, because coyotes are so small, but they looked like they wanted to. After about fifteen minutes one of the elk finally had enough and chased away the coyotes.
We didn't do much hiking (quarter mile, at most) but we went to a really scenic place. It was called an "alluvial fan" - a place where a flood had gone through, basically. There was a lot of branches piled up in places, and small boulders spread all over the place. Right above the fan (the place where the floodwaters spread out) was a waterfall. It was a really small one, but it was still breathtaking. Pics soon.
On the way back we saw a couple of bighorn sheep and a whole herd of elk, but we weren't allowed to stop. Saw two more coyotes on the way back.
Stopped by the Stanley Hotel on the way back, too. I haven't seen the movie or read the book, but it was interesting all the same. It was very majestic on the inside, with lots of fancy woodwork, spacious rooms, etc. Unfortunately, it was starting to rain outside and we needed to get home before the roads got slick, so we didn't get to explore as much as we'd have liked.
I think we're going back to Rocky in a few days or so, this time to do some more serious hiking. I'm hoping that we get to go on one of the more difficult trails, but Dad's not sure. I'd like to go up to Sky Pond, see the Lake of Glass, and do all that - but Dad gets altitude sickness, so maybe not. But I think that, no matter what we do, it'll be fun!