Old Fall River Road

Old Fall River Road

There is something alluring about one-way, gravel roads that reach high up into a canyon up to the Alpine.  The Old Fall River Road did not disappoint.  Starting just up the road from the Alluvial Fan, the Old Fall River Road winds up through the woods, around sharp corners – one overly long pickup truck in front of me misjudged so badly he had to back up twice in order to continue around the corner – and up above the treeline.  Along the way, the Chasm Falls provide a nice opportunity to get out and explore – and cool off, as the rushing stream and cascades cool off the air considerably.  You frequently catch glimpses of the upstream portions as you continue on up to the Alpine Visitor Center and connect with the Trail Ridge Road. 

I enjoy photographing cascading falls, as they provide a lot of opportunities for braoder scenic photos as well as close up, more concentrated shots of particular rocks and flows.  The late afternoon is the best time to photograph the Chasm Falls, as the sun has now retired behind them, leaving them in the shade. 

As I continued further, I noticed several areas with blooming flowers, but only one where I could safely stop.  Pullouts are a premium along this road.  Shortly thereafter, I started to get better glimpses of the nearby ridges and rock formations, as the trees started to give way to the more open, higher eleveations.  As I was in the shaded, final approach to the Alpine Visitor Center, I noticed five bull elk grazing along the hillside.  I pulled over enough to let other cars pass and headed down to photograph them for a while.  They seemed completely oblivious to my presence, or completely unconcerned.  Either way, it is good for me, as I take great care in not causing distress to an animal I am photographing. 

Back on the Trail Ridge Road, I stopped to photograph some Alpine flowers with the mountains in the background.  After the sun went down, I approached Rock Cut and saw hundreds of elk gazing right around the trail areas.  They, too, were oblivious to the many humans who stood in awe on the trail as elk moved around them.  This group of elk or others seem to have been spending a lot of time in the vicinity of Rock Cut this week.  I wonder if it is the abundance of Alpine flowers that draws them there.  I will give it a shot to photograph them tomorrow evening, when I return on the Trail Ridge Road from my visit to the west side of the park.

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