This weekend, I went down scenic trail ridge road on the way to the East Inlet Trail to help a researcher in the park with her sampling. Her research project focuses on antibiotic resistant bacteria in streams in Rocky Mountain National Park and how human activity affects the bacteria. I met this researcher at McGraw Ranch, where many researchers stay while they conduct their studies here at Rocky. She asked if anyone wanted to accompany her on any of her dozens of sampling trips and I thought it would be a fun and interesting experience, so we planned to hike up the East Inlet Trail on the west side of the park, which is the opposite side of where I’ve been living.
The way to the other side of the park is extremely picturesque with breath-taking views of high relief mountains made from volcanos that erupted long ago (~12 million years ago). Trail Ridge Road, which is at around 11,000 feet in elevation, provided plenty of viewpoints to look into the deep glacier-carved valleys and the high snow-topped mountains. Once we started the hike, we were met by even more views and dozens of wildflowers that bounded the paths. Overall, the work it took to sample the water and soil for the bacterial study was well worth the majestic and wondrous sights.