Woke up this morning
And the first thing I did see
Was mountains rising to the sky
On every side of me
Waterfalls, canyon walls
Windy down on main street
Everybody that I meet
They all want to show me
Colorado bluebird sky
You can live a mile high
Colorado bluebird sky
The String Cheese Incident
In days long ago, the 60’s and early 70’s, our family vacations usually included many stops in the mountains of Colorado since my father loved the mountains. I always remember the montains as being beautiful but I have been avoiding revisiting the Rocky Mountains due to the ghosts of the past that weren’t fond memories due to the circumstances of travel with family.
Carolyn finally convinced me into taking a mini-vacation in the Boulder area and using her flight benefits (Southwest) and my hotel benefits (Hilton) we headed off to celebrate our 35 year wedding anniversary. We flew into Denver on a Wednesday morning, hopped on the bus (without Gus) and headed over to Boulder. Much cheaper to rent a car in Boulder and the trip on the bus cost us $21.
Once arriving we headed over to Snooze a breakfast eatery that we enjoy in the Phoenix area but originally from CO. Since we were on vacation, we figured why not stop at a brewery. Since Mountain Sun Pub and Brewery was right there, we had our first craft beer of the day a Big Krane Kolsch.
After our brunch and beer, we drug our luggage down the road through the downtown and over to the rental car place and on to our home away from home, the Hampton Inn and Suites Boulder North. What a great place and friendly staff. They even had a shuttle that would take us around to different places and since it was too late for a hike, we decided to grab the shuttle and head to Longmont for some more craft beer and breweries. First stop, Lefthand Brewing Co. Happens to be the home of my favorite milk stout. I took the tour and that was interesting with a fresh beer right off the canning line as a bonus. From Lefthand, we walked about a mile and a half over to Oscar Blues. Another large craft beer brewery with its home in Longmont. We were too late for any tour but never to late for enjoying a sampling of their wares. Jordyn and James were flying in late so we headed back to get some rest for our big adventure hike in the Rocky Mountains on Friday.
After breakfast, we all headed to Long’s Peak Trailhead at an elevation of 9300 feet. The plan was to hike to Chasm Lake about 9.4 mile rt and over 2500 foot elevation gains. It was a beautiful day and off we went. The trail was well maintained with various views and bridged stream crossings. Not an easy hike but one where you can get winded due to the higher elevations and the steady uphill climb. We did see some marmot running around but no other animals. This old guy got nervous in several areas as we had to cross through a narrow area on snow that was just a bit intimidating and then a rock scramble at the end to get to the lake. Of course you have to go back the same ways so I had moments of high anxiety.
Just being honest. Needless to say, I’m the old slow guy so keeping up with my “younger” wife and my millennial daughter and husband wasn’t going to happen. James helped lead us old folks across those narrow high slope snowing passes. Not certain I would have done that without his encouragement.
The hike was uneventful and after finishing we headed over to Estes Park a place I haven’t been since my teens. It brought back some strange memories that in someways was like exorcising demons and overcoming the past. That’s all for another day but I managed to do so and for the most part successfully.
We returned to Boulder and Carolyn and I went out to Avery Brewing that was just a mile from the hotel. Another cool spot serving up some good beers and good food. Hiking and beer is a great combination for road trips.
Saturday, the kids went on their own to hike a legit 14’er in the mountains and Carolyn and I decided to take a road trip through Rocky Mountain National Park.
We took the Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Grand Lake and back again with a stop at the Alpine Visitor Center. While in the Grand Lake area we did several small hikes. On our road trip we encountered some interesting driving conditions with rain and clouds and very low visibility. It made for some white-knuckle driving conditions. No moose but some Rocky Mountain Elk were visible.
Once we got back to our starting point in Boulder we went out for dinner at an Oscar Blue Taproom to celebrate Jordyn’s birthday. Fun filled memorable day with beautiful scenery surrounding us.
On Sunday, our 35th anniversary, we decided to take another road trip and some small hikes and headed off to Nederland located about 18 miles from Boulder with a beautiful drive through Boulder Canyon. The road is under construction so the drive is much longer then normal. Nederland is a beautiful small mountain town (8200+ elevation) with a lake and some fun local shops and restaurants. Little known fact is it was the third city in Colorado to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Carolyn and I decided on James Peak Brewery and Smokehouse for lunch and what a gem. Beer was fantastic as was the brisket and their mash potatoes were simply the best. During our time we drove over to Brainard Lake Recreation Area.
What a beautiful place at 10000 feet. There were many mountain lakes in the area and we did a quick turnaround to meet up with James and Jordyn in Nederland. There is no phone service so we couldn’t make any change in plans. After meeting up we all drove back to Brainard and said our goodbyes and Carolyn and I decided to do a small hike to Long Lake. Beautiful area next to the Indian Peaks area.
After our hike we headed back to Boulder, a long trip back due to the construction, got cleaned up at the hotel and headed to the Pearl Street area in Boulder. Fairly quiet Sunday night in the area. While planning our trip to the area, I had noticed that Rebekah Rolland was playing at the Laughing Goat. Rebekah is the daughter of my former boss and friend Roy Sandoval so we decided that we would stop in and watch her perform for awhile as a surprise. It was great. She was performing with her husband Matt and we had the opportunity to listen and then visit with her. She performed some new material and one of the songs she wrote with her mother in mind, titled, (I think the title) Marry Me. It was an incredible song. Anyhow, Carolyn and I finished our 35th anniversary on a rainy night in Boulder with some great live music from friends.
The end of our travels as we headed back to Denver and after storm delays we landed in Phoenix in some ways sad to be back to the real world of work and worry. It was a new adventure for Carolyn and I and we hope to return to the mountains of Colorado again. In some ways it was a time of healing for me to be able to overcome past memories. In life there is so much to do with so little time but memories are made and always to be cherished. The journey continues.