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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Estes is the Bestest

~Monday, May 9, 2022~

Day 694

Woke up to rain this morning and a light wind. We immediately went to mapping out our plans for Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. We only have 5 full days in the area and want to see as much as possible. But first……the water pump.

Now that we had our filter part delivered, Jeff could put the new pump we’ve had stowed away for some time, assembled with the filter, hoping that this would solve multiple problems. #1: stop the pump from turning on every 20 seconds, #2: stopping the flow of city water (when connected) to our fresh water tank. With the water not bypassing the fresh water tank when connected, our tank would completely fill up (overflow actually), forcing us to use that water instead of city water. This is one of the reasons we’ve been having to use the water pump so much. Oh my goodness, it worked!! (so far). Jeff is still not 100% sure this fixed the tank issue. But after several hours, we’re still seeing the monitor read “empty”, not “full”. Yes!!

With that little project out of the way, we could start exploring. We knew we wanted to include our Sadie today and since she can’t join us for the majority of our hikes in the national park, we chose the Lake Estes Trail. Right in the heart of Estes Valley, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, the 4-mile loop trail sits at about 7,600 feet. On occasion we passed an interpretive sign or two which were quite detailed in how the lake was formed.

The area used to be an open meadow with the Big Thompson River running through it. In 1938, the Federal Government began the huge project to route water from the western slope of the Continental Divide to the Front Range which consisted of 11 reservoirs (one is Lake Estes), 13 dams (one is the Olympus Dam

which created Lake Estes) and 6 power plants. The monumental task also included a 13.1-mile long tunnel (the Alva B. Adams Tunnel), that runs underneath Rocky Mountain National Park from Grand Lake to Estes Park. In all, it took about 14 years to complete.

Reminding us of the many years of flooding in Napa, we also learned about the devastating floods that have disturbed the Estes region. The Big Thompson Flood in 1976 had 12 inches of rainfall in just a few hours. 145 people lost their lives. The Lawn Lake Dam failure in 1982 caused $30 million in damage and 3 lost lives, and The Colorado Flood in 2013 (considered a 100-year flood) where a cold front clashed with warm humid monsoonal air, dropped 15-17 inches of rain in a 24 hour period, which caused $1.2 billion in damage and the loss of 2 lives. Between recent fires and historic floods, this area has surely seen its share of devastation, yet remains resilient. At least with the areas we drove through today, scars were not apparent. They’ve done an incredible job bouncing back.

Because we wanted to take full advantage of our awesome RV site on the river, we decided to enjoy some deck time with a yummy horderves plate,

a glass of wine and 2 games of dominoes. Neck and neck on our last game until near dark, I finally won a game, relishing the moment. Woo hoo! 🙌

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