Derek Stegelman


This is a cross post from my wife’s blog at

This past weekend we celebrated our 4th Anniversary! Well the actual day is today, but we celebrated early :) We left Ada overnight for the first time with my parents and sister. She did great, I missed her but it was pretty nice to get away for a night and eat some meals in quiet and sleep in! The weather was perfect both days and we had some really good food!

So our house is less than an hour from Estes Park and about an hour from the entrance from Rocky Mountain National Park. I am still amazed that these gorgeous sites are an hour from our home! The canyon that you drive through to get to Estes Park starts just outside Loveland. Here is a photo, it’s pretty neat.

Photo 1 The first day we decided to take the drive up the mountain at Rocky Mountain National Park. It goes to about 12,000 ft and it a paved road with pretty good views of the park! Unfortunately, the visitor center at the top of the road was closed because it was buried in snow! There were about 15 foot drifts of snow on the way up but I didn’t even think about it being closed. Here is a picture from about half way up. Photo 2 And a view from the top, lots of snow! Photo 3 We stayed at the Stanley Hotel. It is on the Historic Register. It is supposed to be haunted but we had no ghost encounters. The grounds and restaurants at the hotel were really nice was the room wasn’t that great. I doubt we would stay there again. Photo 4 The next day we went to the Bear Lake area of the park. That part is so beautiful! We hiked for several hours, and did about 5 minutes total. I was surprised how not out of breathe I was hiking at around 10,000 feet, I think living at 5,000 feet now helped with that a lot. The trails still had a ton of snow on them so that made part of it slow going, but we had a really good time and saw 3 gorgeous lakes and 1 waterfall!

The first lake, Bear Lake. It is like 20 feet from the parking lot so it was really busy. Photo 5 At Nymph lake, too bad we are so dark, but it was really bright out! Photo 6 Photo 7 On the way to Dream Lake, the last lake. It was also the best lake, which is good because it was kind of hard to get to and involved tromping through a lot of snow and not very good footing. Photo 8 Photo 9 And the last thing we went to was Alberta Falls. Photo 10