– Rocky Mountain High …-

Have you ever felt trapped? Like if you didn’t escape your daily life you just might suffocate?
During a recent bout of life suffocation my brother, one of my favorite fellow adventurers, and I decided we would randomly fly wherever we could find the cheapest last minute plane tickets. The only requirement was that it be someplace with snow. 3 days later we had found round trip tickets to Denver, CO for $155 and found ourselves off on a new adventure with both of my sons in tow, with super crammed tiny suitcases we packed in about an hour. (can I complain about the ever decreasing size of baggage allowed as carry-on?)
After a relatively easy 2 flights we arrived in Denver, picked up our rental car from Alamo and were off to our rental cabin in Estes Park after a short stop for lunch and some local brew at Law’s Whiskey House in Boulder, CO. I’m pretty sure the Chainsmokers played on the radio on repeat all day, and I will forever associate Halsey and the Chainsmokers with this amazing trip.
Our lovely cabin at Estes Park Condos was even nicer than we had expected, with 2 bedrooms and a great fireplace with large glass windows overlooking the little river running through the property. The next morning we rented snowshoes for $5 a pair from Hayden at Estes Park Mountain Shop and we took a quick 1 mile trip town the road to the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park. After buying a weeks pass for $30 we had our first Elk sighting. On our way to hike to Dream Lake we spotted our first and only Moose! They have recently been making their way to the East side of the park again. Dream Lake and Emerald Lake were the perfect starting hikes for us. I was so proud of my boys, they hiked like troopers! And the views were literally breathtaking, and well worth the efforts. We had an “ice picnic” out on Emerald Lake and my lips were so frozen I could barely eat my sandwich. After making it back to return our snowshoes we randomly popped into Elkins Whiskey Distilling for a much deserved warm up. What a treat to find super friendly locals that not only made us some amazing drinks, but Zack treated us to a behind the scenes tour of how he is making their awesome product. (Be on the lookout for an upcoming article in Sunset Magazine on the cutting edge sonic aging process these guys are rocking).

Day 2. After another drive and hike through Rocky Mountain National Park we drove to Fort Collins to meet up with some friends from another journey (Merida, Mexico) at a nice coffee shop, followed by dinner that included Brussels with Bacon….yum!
Day 3 we spent exploring the tiny town of Estes Park. With coffee at Bean Cycle Roasters and lunch (our only disappointing meal) at the Wapiti. At least we enjoyed a spectacular drive through Rocky Mountain National Park using our park pass yet again for access to Trail Ridge Road for an easy hike, and Many Parks Curve Overlook for great views
Our Elk sighting continued on a daily basis, but we never got over the thrill of seeing such majestic creatures just roaming free. There is something that just feels “right” about observing wild animals roaming free.

Check back next week for the continuation of our Colorado Adventure!