Once reaching the visitor center for a second time it was off in search of moose. We were informed that moose were spotted more frequently on the other side of Rocky Mountain National Park so we continued on Trail Ridge Road towards the Continental Divide and Milner Pass. As we reached Milner Pass there were no signs of Moose. Stopping to take the requisite photo of the Continental Divided (where the water from one side of this divide heads towards the Atlantic Ocean and water from the other side goes to the Pacific Ocean) the question of how much further do we want to explore as the day was growing long and the trip back to our lodge would take some time. We decided to press on and fortunately we did because soon we came upon another area with a lot of cars which usually means there is something in the area to see.
Sure enough, there were two moose lying in the grass allowing us to take photos and just watch for awhile. Satisfied we turned back for the journey to Alpine Visitor Center and on to Estes Park. Along the way a cow moose was spotted. We turned the vehicle around quickly for another look and then turned our vehicle around again for another chance to observe this moose. We quickly came upon a parking area and quietly exited the vehicle in hopes of getting a closer look. This moose wasn’t willing to stand still as we crept closer to it but it didn’t move very far or fast away from us either. We got a few photos and it was gone. Retreating back to the vehicle satisfied with yet another moose spotting I realized we were standing in the middle of another colony of wild orchids. What a great, unexpected discovery as there were hundreds of orchids around us, many not yet in bloom but others that were allowing us the opportunity for another experience. Daylight would be waning soon so time to keep going.
There still was the matter of spotting a big horn sheep. This continued to be an elusive animal however the last ranger we spoke with mentioned the best location was near the entrance close to Estes Park. Perfect! As we neared this entrance there still were no big horn sheep to be seen. At the entrance station they post the last sighting of big horn sheep. It turned out that the sheep had not been sighted for a couple of days so we ended up not being able to see them. We were all tired from another long day of exploring so getting back to the lodge was acceptable and welcomed.
This adventure was an amazing experience of which I could do again. Another time I would like to be more prepared for long hikes into the mountains as there are numerous trails to explore. For those who are really adventurous, camping in the back country is an option allowing for hiking even further into the mountains and witnessing sights very few get to see. For two days we traveled and hiked a lot of miles and enjoyed many of the sites of RMNP. There is so much more to do and experience in this vast park that a couple of weeks would be quickly used up and provide a lifetime of memories. Rocky Mountain National Park has 3 webcams that update approximately every 10 minutes. I often will check out these webcams for a reminder of our visit and to see the changes throughout a day and throughout a month. There have been some great sunrises, sunsets, snowstorms, and rain as the weather at each of these camera locations can be different all at the same time. I have yet to see an animal caught on camera though. As much as I would like to go back to RMNP, I look forward to seeing some other great National Parks that we will enjoy just as much.
P.S. We did eventually find some big horn sheep near Mount Rushmore.