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How To...

How To...

Use Recreation.gov

Recreation.gov is referred to quite a bit in this book. This website and accompanying mobile app are easy to use. You will need an account to make reservations. Find out more and download the mobile app from Recreation.gov.

This website has more than 113,000 reservable sites all across the United States. Having an account with them and using the mobile app will make it easy to reserve sites in all the places the system is used. Some first-come, first-serve locations also allow for payment through the app using the scan and pay option. Simply scan the provided QR code at these locations and make payment through your account. This works without cell service.

First, set up an account on their website with your information and credit card and get familiar with how it works. For popular reservations, being logged in and ready to go a few minutes before the reservation opens will give you a better chance of success.

If you are able to secure a reservation, don’t hesitate! Once you “book,” you only have 15 minutes to complete the reservation. If you don’t complete the reservation in that time, the reservation is released back into the system.

Keep this in mind, and if you didn’t succeed at first, try about 15 minutes later. Someone may not have completed their transaction in those 15 minutes either and a reservation may then be available.

Be Bear Aware

Call for Search and Rescue

This is the one group we hope you don’t meet while on vacation. Being prepared and thinking through your actions can help avoid a rescue. Rocky ranks in the top ten for most dangerous national parks in America. Falling and the high altitude are big factors. If you are in need of help, never hesitate to call 911.
Then, stay put and don’t panic. Just S.T.O.P. (Stop, Think, Observe, and Plan).

Most search fatalities make their deadly mistake in the first ten minutes of being lost. Think clearly. Make yourself visible. Stay calm.

When using your smartphone, the GPS in your phone transmits your current location, with accuracy of about 13ft. This helps dispatch locate you. Then stay put!

Don’t try and call anyone else, as you need to conserve your phone’s battery. You also need to keep the line clear if rescuers try to call you. If your phone dies, your GPS won’t work. Just turning on a cell phone uses a lot of battery power. Don’t even think of posting on social media; that uses power.

Cell service in Rocky isn’t reliable, so don’t rely only on your cell phone.

Using a two-way satellite communicator is a great option (Garmin InReach or SPOT for example). They use less battery power; some have the option to talk to rescuers, and their GPS is a bit more accurate.

Pay for Parking

From May 26 to Oct. 22, parking in eight downtown public parking areas requires payment. The cost is $2 per hour between the hours of 10am and 5pm daily.
Payment can be made via kiosk (located in the paid parking areas) or via the ParkMobile app (available for Apple and Android devices).

You may also use the text to park option by texting the word “Park” to 77223.

To use the mobile option, set up a free account before you arrive. When you park, find the sign with your “zone number,” select the amount of time you want to park, and check out. You have the option with both the kiosk and app to get a text message when your time is about to run out. The app is handy and is also used in other Colorado towns.

Look the Part

We cannot express enough the importance of staying hydrated.

Drink water! Drink at least four quarts (a gallon) of water a day, especially when it’s hot.

Your body needs more water at this altitude.

Do as the locals do: buy a water bottle that is at least 32oz and show your personality by covering it up with your favorite stickers. Carry your water bottle with you and remember to drink. Restaurants will happily fill it for you.

This is better than buying bottled water, as that plastic is harmful to the environment. Carrying your own water bottle is smart. And, you will look cool.

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