Drove into Colorado. First sign of civilisation is that I get digital phone coverage. The next sign is the huge towns. Fantastic uplifted sediments and spectacular roadside geology all the way. Drove up a forest road that turned out to be not so quiet a camp, with all the jeepers, dirtbikers, and people living just outside the forest.
I'd driven through Big Thompson Canyon just before pulling off, and decided I had to go back and drive through it again in the daylight. Quite an impressive canyon. It's also the site of a pipe that goes from the west side of the continental divide to the east, bringing water. Lots of crazy engineering projects in Colorado. Nice canyon.
Continued driving up towards Estes Park. Fishermen everywhere, then a great big mountain town. Rang a few people to try and climb, but no luck. Managed to find some new shoes though. Lumpy Ridge looked like a nice place to climb. Went up to the park, and had a look for a good overnight walk. Chose, and was then recommended, the Fern Lake loop, which is only about 12 miles. Would have been a good day walk if I'd gotten in early enough.
Outrageously expensive backcountry permit, at $20, then had to go and park and wait for a shuttle to take me to the trailhead. Hordes of people at the trailhead, but thinning out. Reasonable walking, mostly forested, some talus fields where I saw lots of Pikas, only unlike in the Cirque of the Towers, these ones didn't mind me taking pictures of them.
Finally got out to some views, but the the mountains were all horrible backlit. Walked on to Fern Lake campground. Which is nowhere near Fern Lake. The group site is. The seasonal ranger station is. But not the campsites for everyone else. Not real impressed. Not a very nice like even really.
Walked out the next morning, passed one nice waterfall, then a few other waterfalls that had no tracks to them, or the track went to unhelpful viewpoints of them. Not really well thought out in my mind. Met a couple who commented that they too had a GPS, but they had never worked out how to use it, so it stayed at home.
Drove out past Longs Peak, and the fall colours starting to develop. Again, Longs Peak was horribly backlit, so no pictures. Hopefully the rest of Colorado was going to be exciting, because it had been pretty damn boring so far. (The Rockies had been boring, not some of the lower roadside geology)
Welcome to Colorado
Front Range lights
Big Thompson Canyon
Reflections in Fern Lake