Alluvial Fan, Rocky Mountain National Park


With rain and grey skies surrounding me at the end of Day 6, I drove around the eastern side of Rocky Mountain National Park, trying to find something to see that would be beautiful, even when the weather wasn’t.  The Alluvial Fan proved to be a nice stop.

The Alluvial Fan is a cascade that formed only recently.  In 1982, an earthen dam upstream at Lawn Lake failed, sending a torrent of water down Roaring River.  As the water crashed through this area and entered Horseshoe Park (the valley floor), it deposited most of the boulders that it was carrying.  The Alluvial Fan was born.  Three people died, but many more would have, if park rangers hadn’t received a warning and evacuated the Aspenglen campground.  The flood waters eventually washed through downtown Estes Park, and into Lake Estes, where the Olympus Dam stopped the destruction from spreading any further downstream.

In between wiping raindrops and waterfall spray from my lens, I managed to take a few pictures of the Alluvial Fan.

I had given up on photography for the day, until I drove past this elk, who was hanging out by the roadside, munching on grass.  The poor guy was probably already a little frustrated with those springtime antlers, which were still growing and highly sensitive.

It didn’t help that a bird had decided to perch on his back, creating a tickle that he just couldn’t reach.

My elk sighting marked the end of Day 6.  Day 7 would be a long one, with hundreds of miles of driving, all the way back to Utah.

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