visiting rocky mountain national park – Paola Guadalupe Hinojosa

Last week, I tackled a 6 mile hike at Rocky Mountain National Park via the Wild Basin Trailhead. That was my first time hiking at a National Park! We met with Will, a Mosaics in Science intern, and his supervisor Paige, a Biological Science Technician at the park and learned about Will’s project which involves using the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program to identify visitor-related impacts. The data will be used to measure the trail’s visitor use capacity and ecological impacts. I was given the opportunity to briefly work on the project by studying paths outside the main trail created by visitors and looking for any waste left behind that may hint humans were in the area, then entering the findings in the GIS program. Very important work related to the conservation of our parks!

Paola on Calypso Cascades bridge
Paola (right) and Gabi (left) working with Paige (behind) mapping impact along Wild Basin Trailhead

I hardly slept the night before the trip because I was so eager to visit the park for the first time! As a beginner, the Wild Basin Trailhead was a rewarding hike to complete. I slipped a couple of times, but at least I did it gracefully. Halfway into the hike, we reached Calypso Cascades and I was in awe of its beauty. I decided to surrender myself to the park for a moment so I closed my eyes and focused on the sound of the flowing water. My mind likes to wander but this moment was a cathartic experience because I was simply appreciating being in the present. Once at Ouzel falls, our last stop, we had lunch before heading back.

Paola at Ouzel falls

I hope to visit the park once more before heading back to California. It was worth the layers of sunscreen and sweat. Until next time!

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