Colorado Mountains – 2012 Road Trip – Day 9 & 10 – Greeley & Rocky Mountain National Park

Saturday was spent travelling from Colorado Spring through Denver to Greeley. Once in Greeley we checked out the sights of the town, including an amusing pot themed sub sandwich shop called Cheba Hut.

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The afternoon was spent at Centennial Village, a restored turn of the century village in Greeley.

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Greeley is home to a large rodeo.

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Sunday was the day of the wedding we had gone to Colorado for, but it wasn’t scheduled until late afternoon so we decided to spend the morning in nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.

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The park is 415 square miles of mountains on both sides of the Continental Divide, which gives the eastern and western portions of the park a different character. The east side of the park tends to be drier. The west side of the park is wetter and more lush, with deep forests dominating

 

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We took the Old Fall River Road up the mountain. This road earned the distinction of being the first auto route in Rocky Mountain National Park offering access to the park’s high country when it was completed in 1920.

Primarily gravel, one-way uphill and punctuated by switchbacks, it is a slower-paced, 11-mile-long uphill, leading from Horseshoe Park to Fall River Pass, 11,796 feet above sea level. There are no guard rails along this road, and the road itself is very rutted, making the trip up in the Mercedes tricky.

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As we ascended through the clouds, we spotted elk and other wildlife, and the view at the Alpine Visitor’s Center at the top is spectacular.

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Eventually though we had to head back down through Big Thompson Canyon to get ready for the wedding, to be held at the ‘Ellis Wedding Ranch’ in the appropriately named town of Loveland, which seems to have a free spirit attitude as well.

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Ellis Wedding Ranch was an actual ranch, with a few metal barns that are used to house the receptions. The weather fortunately was nice and the wedding was held outside.

The wedding and reception went off without a hitch, and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening with the Colorado relatives.