SAA Part II ~ Playing in Rocky Mountain National Park

Playing in Rocky Mountain National Park

By Rachelle Siegrist

wes and rachelle siegrist in rocky montain national park

Happy kids we are while enjoying Sprague Lake

I can’t believe it’s been a week and a half already since Wes and I landed in Denver, CO, anxious to spend a week out there! Although we were there to attend the 54th Society of Animal Artists’ Annual Exhibition, we spent several days playing in Rocky Mountain National Park, while staying with dear friends Bob and Diane at their beautiful place in nearby Berthoud, CO. Wednesday, over a week ago, the four of us headed to Estes Park, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Poppy’s Pizza and Grill. While sitting on the backporch enjoying the cool breeze, we were treated to the lovely sites and sounds of the stream and mountainside adjacent to the open air dining area. After lots of talking and laughing and with tummies happy and full, we drove into Rocky Mountain National Park, with our first stop being Sprague Lake. It was a most relaxing walk, just meandering along the path leading around the lake, accompanied by beautiful blue skies above! The air was full of bird song as we occasionally stopped to admire the numerous wildflowers still blooming along the lakeside. We also spotted a couple of Mallard Ducks as well as several other bird species, many of which we photographed for possible future paintings.

rachelle siegrist bob and diane mason in coloradoMe with dear friends Bob and Diane by Sprague Lake

siegrist photo of mallard duck at sprague lakeA lovely female Mallard Duck, by what I call “Lazy Grass”, since it appeared to grow tall . . . get tired . . .

then fall over and keep growing while lying down!

wes siegrist photographing ducks at spraguelakeShe posed so sweetly for Wes!

Leaving there, we headed up to the high country, where we spent sometime at one of the overlooks, while enjoying the view and watching the numerous resident chipmunks, squirrels and pikas all running busily about. The gorgeous views were accompanied with strong, brisk winds, which I must admit caused me to hide my bare legs behind the rock ledges as much as possible! Leaving there, we headed back down the mountainside, while enjoying the gorgeous ride back through the Park. That evening the four of us met our dear artist friend, Karryl, at Bob and Diane’s favorite Thai restaurant, where we enjoyed great food, conversation and of course lots of laughs!

sprague lake in rocky mountain national parkThick grasses border beautiful Sprague Lake

sprague lake in rocky mountain nationalAnother gorgeous view of the lake, one in which I can just imagine a bull Moose!

chipmunk in coloradoA curious resident at one of  the upper elevation overlooks

rachelle siegrist in rocky mountain nationalSitting on the edge . . .  literally!  . . . Another treat for this thrill seeker!

Thursday, after a delightful early morning walk and yummy breakfast with several other friends on the Mason’s porch, artist friend Allen Blagden joined Wes and I for another adventurous day in the Park! We enjoyed once again, driving through the beautiful canyon area leading from our friends’ house in Berthoud to Estes Park, where we stopped at a Subway to grab sandwiches to take for a picnic in the Park. After a bit of confusion with the man making our sandwiches and a small disaster with Allen and I at the drink machines, we headed back to our car, while laughing our heads off! We were off once again, and before we knew it, we were entering the Park. Reading maps is not a strong point of mine, so unfortunately we managed to miss all of the main picturesque picnic areas and ended up at a table by a large parking lot. Although we had a grand view of the Rockies in the distance, a huge RV filled up much of our view! But not to worry, we had great fun anyway, laughing and shivering, as we ate while trying to hold down our sandwich wrappers in what seemed like 60 mph cold winds!

rachelle siegrist and allen blagden at SAAAllen and I at our picturesque picnic spot

With tummies full, we loaded a shuttle bus, where we rode to the Bear Lake trailhead. It was another beautiful day as we started the walk around the picturesque lake, stopping numerous times to take photos. Allen and I both had to feel the water to see just how cold it was, and just as we imagined it was icy! Wildflowers were blooming all along the hike with chipmunks and little ground squirrels occasionally making appearances. Before we knew it, we had rounded the lake, at which point we decided to hike up to Nymph Lake. On the way there and out of breath from the elevation, Allen decided he better keep his greetings to those passing by to just one syllable!

wes and rachelle siegrist by bear lakeWes and I are all smiles at Bear Lake . . . notice how many jackets I have on . . . Ha!

nymph lakeA  stunning view of Nymph Lake

siegrist photot of bear lakeA gorgeous view of Bear Lake

Reaching the upper elevation lake, we could see that it was filled with water lilies and several of them were blooming. It was a gorgeous lake, and I could just imagine myself gliding across the smooth surface in a kayak, thus quickly deciding it would make a spectacular backyard! Having enjoyed the stunning setting and seeing several different birds once again, we decided it was time to hike back down. Before long we were back at the Bear Lake trailhead and parking area, where we loaded back onto the shuttle bus. Soon we arrived at the parking area, where our adventures had started earlier that day. With many happy memories made and stories to tell, we started the journey back to our friends’ home, where later that evening we all drove into Denver for the weekend.

wild asters blooming in rocky mountain nationalWild Asters bloom by Sprague Lake

berthoud coloradoThe gorgeous drive to our “Colorado home”

~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels~

This past week, I finished my miniature painting of a sculpture room in The National Gallery of Art.  It features 19 sculptures and a shadowy figure in the back, which was a docent.  I felt as if I had managed a major feat upon completing this very tiny detailed painting!

A sculpture room at the National Gallery of Art  by Rachelle Siegrist


Come back this Sunday to read about part III of our exciting adventure with Elk and other critters in Rocky Mountain National Park!

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Until next time . . .


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