Saturday, October 06, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

After 11 years, my husband and I recently returned to the site of our first vacation together -- Colorado.

This is an absolutely beautiful state. For some reason, I feel at home here. I don't know why because I've never lived here and have only visited it three times.

This time, we were there to take in the FSU vs. University of Colorado football game. I've had it circled for several years!

We flew into Denver's new airport (DIA) and drove out to a small town just south of Boulder. The next morning, we checked out the campus very quickly to find the stadium and possible parking. We stopped in at the bookstore, but it was closed that early.

So we headed up to Estes Park, which is an upscale version of Gatlinburg. Just as we crossed the city limits, we saw a herd of trumpeting elk relaxing along the side of a golf course! So, naturally, we had to pull over with the, oh, 100 or so other people. We got to get real close to the herd, mostly females with their young, and one bull elk. Two adolescent boys decided to play "butting horns" on the golf course, as the golfers calmly walked around them. It was surreal. (See the photo below).

We then headed over to Rocky Mountain National Park (see the photo below of me at top ). It got quite chilly as we ascended into the mountains. We got to the Alpine Tourist Center, where a very good gift shop awaited us (the only real shopping I did all weekend). Lovely alpine lakes, some snow patches, and vistas to take your breath away.

The next day we drove down to Aspen (via a white-knuckle ride through Independence Pass) and stayed in our favorite bed and breakfast (The Little Red Ski Haus-- see below). It was actually pretty reasonable by Aspen standards. The fun part is, it used to be a brothel! It was raining when we got there, so we put off our walk for awhile. When it let up, we walked to Wagner Park and watched a rugby tournament! The players got very muddy (see photo below). I kept asking, "Does this game have any rules or do they just make them up as they go?"

The sad thing about Aspen is that there is no "common people" shopping. Everything is a high-end store -- unless you go grocery shopping at the ONE grocery store there. There IS one McDonald's and one Ben and Jerry's.

Our favorite restaurant, La Cocina, just closed! So we went to Little Annie's for dinner. Aspen is very, very walkable, so once our car was parked, that was it.

The Little Red Ski Haus used to be a brothel.

We then headed back to Boulder and walked a bit of the campus, including the bookstore. It's a beautiful campus -- clean with wide sidewalks. Very welcoming. We then headed back to the hotel for a little rest before the game that night (FSU won, 16-6).

The next day, we headed back to Denver, via Glenwood Springs, Vail, and I-70. What a beautiful ride! I think it must be the most beautiful interstate route in the country. Every bend is a new scene -- snow capped mountains, wide open fields. Just beautiful (see photo above).

The weather was nice (if you don't count the rain). Temperatures and humidity extremely pleasing.

I'm hoping we don't wait another 11 years to go back.


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