Colorado 2018: Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountains, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Our plan for the day was to visit the Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, and the Rocky Mountain National Park. That day, the temperature in Denver would climb to a warm ninety-two degrees, but in the mountains it turned out to be a chilly forty degrees with threatening rain clouds chasing us most of the way.

According to news articles, Stephen King checked into the Stanley in 1973 for a one-night stay and by chance was the only guest that night, giving him complete run of the lodge. He stayed, it is said, in room 217. As he wandered the halls, he found inspiration for his book The Shining.

The movie version, directed by Stanley Kubrick, was filmed in a soundstage in London, but the exterior shots were taken at the Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, Oregon. In King’s book the spooky events are set in room 217, but at the request of the Timberline Lodge, the room was changed to 237 for the film. There is no room 237 at the Timberline Lodge.

Despite all the stories of ghost sightings and other paranormal activities, I saw nothing out of the ordinary during our visit to the Stanley Hotel, but then again, I didn’t set foot in room 217. I can report that the dining room was packed, the service average, and lunch was passable but not memorable. Read more about the Stanley Hotel’s horrors here: https://travel.mapquest.com/2016/04/17/the-real-story-of-the-terrifying-stanley-hotel-that-inspired-a/

We parked at Glacier Basin and rode the shuttle to Bear Lake. All the while, I kept wondering how we could get closer to the mountains, which was why I was there in the first place, to photograph the Rockies. After Bear Lake, we caught the shuttle back to our rental car and I unfolded our park map, looking for a route to take us closer to the mountains. Noticing the climb in elevation to Milner Pass at 10,758 feet, we decided to zigzag our way up Highway 36 toward the Continental Divide. 

Rain pelted us as we closed in on the Beaver Meadows entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, and the weather turned progressively worse as we gained in elevation. I hoped this entire trip wouldn’t be a bust when it came to snapping photos of the mountains, but as we closed in on Gore Range Overlook, the rain stopped and the skies cleared at Medicine Bow Curve. By the time we reached Milner Pass, where the Continental Divide is also located, the weather had improved enough to capture a shot I was quite pleased with. 

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