We thought it best to move on and in a few minutes we were above timberline photographing cow elk nursing their young, spotted calves. A few miles later we took pictures of pika running between broken rocks and stuffing their mouths with yellow buttercups. Around the next bend and close to the alpine visitors center we watched a heard of twenty bull elk grazing and sunning themselves in the high mountain light. Our digital shutters blazed and we took hundreds of images of their magnificent velvet antlers and laughed as the little bulls annoyed the big ones.
We took a break for lunch in Grand Lake and after a brief rainstorm started looking for landscape pictures. Taking a small, gravel road that meandered through old growth aspen groves about ten miles west of town, we found a incredible field of perfect purple and blue columbines nestled on the forest floor. We shot pictures for more than two hours and even got a few shots of hummingbirds as they zipped through the flowers and trees. Moving back toward the west entrance of the park, we spied a huge bull moose lounging under some willows and chewing his cud at Columbine Lake. He was magnificent and stood up and posed for several more shots before retiring into the forest. The sun set behind dark clouds cloaking the Never Summer Range, but in the last few minutes of half light, we saw a cow moose grazing with her twin calves in a small grove of lodge pole pines and snapped many more images. We spent an hour motoring back to Estes, and as a full moon rose in the east, we all knew that Rocky had granted us a perfect day.