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      08-04-2017, 03:01 AM   #1
ipso_facto
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Boulder and Estes Park, CO - trip report and photos

Hi Folks,

In follow up to my thread ...

http://f10.5post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1393426

... I have a few pictures and a short trip report to share with you.

Friday 28th July

Arrived at Denver Intl Airport around 6pm. Avoided sleeping on the plane - 10 hours from London - good move. Shuttle Bus to Avis and picked up my Nissan Altima 3.5 SR. Head over to Broomfield on the wrong side of the road ... but that's good here. Amazing views of the mountains: evening sunlight streaming through the peaks. A welcome first view of the skyline.

Shower and down to the bar for one of your famous hamburgers and a healthy helping of fries. Pint of the Crazy Mountain - a nice amber beer. Sit at the bar like Norm Peterson. It's natural. Chat with enormous bald headed golfer at the bar. Am already feeling murica. Telly then bed.

Saturday 29th July

Wake insanely early, but refreshed. Sleep a little more, but struggle, as am so excited. Head to Boulder on the I36, to a high school. Exchanged emails with the tourist board earlier in the week : using the Park-to-Park shuttle. Excellent work ... shuttle comes after a few minutes. Free to park, free to ride. Friendly and helpful driver .. a few minutes up to Chautauqua park.

I am there before 8am and the Chautauqua Dining Hall and General Store are not yet open. Wait for open and grab some water. Get a little trail advice. Head off for the Royal Arch. It's easy for a while, but the gradient picks up when the trail heads into the trees. Before I know it, it's turning into some frequent and large steps. So pleased I started early. Plenty of stops for water. Trail heads down about a quarter of a mile from the end, then sharply back up. The arch is really impressive. Great sense of well being. Super views over Boulder and all the way to the glass monoliths of Denver. Brought my binoculars .. seem to be the only one. Take it really easy going down ... do not want to turn an ankle up there.

Head back up another trail, which takes me under the second flatiron, then down over a nice scree field : my secondary school Geography lessons did not go to waste. The path filters down gently into the meadow trail. My British deep sense of irony is awakened by the "Keep off the grass" sign. I feel the need to take a photograph. I take a photograph.

It's busy now down at the Ranger's Cottage. I feel a great sense of satisfaction on three points:

- Completion of this quite brutal trail
- It's nearly lunchtime and my virtuous morning behavior deserves a tasty reward
- As I mentioned : it's busy at the Ranger's Cottage and the traffic is 9:1 in favor of upwards on the trails

Head over to the Dining Hall. Ask to be seated on the terrace. Primo corner spot. Order a ginger beet drink. Hand crushed by local Coloradan virgin mermaids. It's delicious: see picture. Amazingly, I seem to have ordered a salad. It is also very nice.

Stroll down to the bus stop and get the shuttle into Boulder. Same driver .. recognizes me. Checks I want to go into Boulder : I do. We speak a little about the UK. Everyone likes the UK in the United States. Everyone. I like the UK too, but I am getting to like this place a lot too.

Get a little advice from the driver re. Boulder. Boulder is nice. Immediately get the sense of:

- Safe
- Affluent
- College people
- Beautiful people
- Shops that could only survive in locations where there are safe, affluent, college and beautiful people; an ice lolly (popsicle) shop, a puzzle shop, Fjällräven shop

I have an overwhelming feeling of enjoyment here. I also wish there was some sort of Birkenstock financial index I could invest in.

I eat the most delicious ice cream lolly : Pistacho. Super good.

Drift in and out of shops. Purchase t-shirts for the kids. Spend too much .. but it's for the kids, so it's okay.

Go to the hat shop. The most enthusiastic man on earth seems to hang out here. In fact, he works here : the owner is truly blessed to have this man in his employment. I try on a baseball cap. I am informed that it suits me. It does suit me. I try on another baseball cap. I am informed that it suits me even more than the first baseball cap. Again: the observation is correct. I purchase the baseball cap. I am happy, as it is a great baseball cap. It's wool and I got it for half price. I am asked if I want to wear it out of the shop. Funny ... I don't want to wear it out of the shop, since it's incredibly hot outside, I am incredibly hot, and it's a woollen baseball cap. The enthusiastic employee finds great amusement at the suggestion of his co-worker. We laugh. I leave, happy with my purchase (in a bag).

I'm tired and head back to the shuttle stop. I chat with an enthusiastic shuttle bus helper who gives me advice for my travels tomorrow. I'm grateful for the advice and make notes. I drive back along the I36 and remember my turn off. Big evening sleep, then downstairs at 9pm for another Crazy Mountain and some ribs. Everyone seems happy: half cut parents are out on the hotel terrace, while their children are reigning terror on everyone within a 50 foot radius of the pool. It's Saturday night, it's warm and everyone seems happy. There is a DJ at work in a large annex some distance from the hotel. I enjoy his music and wonder what the party is all about. The song selection moves slowly, but surely, from "come and dance" to "please leave now".

Bed time.

Sunday 30th July

Again, wake early. Phone calls to blighty - all is well.

Have decided on Deer Mountain in the Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. Plan the journey and get my kit together.

Head out early onto the I36. Light traffic and some nice music. Weather is superb.
Stop at a garage to get some water and doughnut.

Head through Lyons and the scenery starts getting bigger. Winding roads, mostly people are behaving. Heading down to Estes Park - really nice views. Impressive entry over the lake there. Getting excited now ... eyes on the prize. Through Estes Park and up to the RMNP gate. Part with $20 and already know this is money very well spent. Scenery is absolutely stunning now. I am verbalising "wow .. man .. oh wow". Watching the milometer. Get a little confused and go approx. a mile past my marker : Deer Mountain Trailhead. Turnaround and get parked easily. Very excited : it's a visual treat. Change boots and ready to go.

It's a great trail. Steady at first in some open land with mixed scrub and trees. See some chipmunks. Taking lots of photo's. Trail zig zags many times, with lot's of amazing vista points. Eventually starts to get steeper. Exchange pleasantries with the small number of folks on the path. Push on up and then a strange lengthy section down. Visibility to the peak is nowhere to be seen. Slowly turns back up and then get to the foot of the steep stairs I had read about. Nearly there. Head up slowly - legs getting tired now - feeling the effects of yesterday's hike.

Top out : amazing. Large flattish top. Take it in. Take photos and video. Several chipmunks up here .. quite tame ... looking for food.

Looking up to a lot of snow mixed peaks. Looking down on a lot of land too. Get the bins out to look at everything. Sense of satisfaction. Chat with a few folks. Sit for a while. Perfect hike.

Head down after 30 minutes. Knee giving a little trouble. Also see storm clouds coming in. A little light rain on the latter half, but has no effect on the temperature.

Down and satisfied. Take a drive along the I34 to "Many Parks Curve Overlook". Stop for while and enjoy the views. A few too many folks here though. The rain has stopped and people wanting to get out of their cars. Understand, but only stay around 15 minutes on the point.

Drive back to Estes Park. Busy with cars. Park on a street close to town. Walk into town and speak to a policeman and check directions to The Stanley Hotel. Not too far : strange approach though, over some scrubland. Hotel is very impressive. Feel copiously under dressed, but thankfully there are lots of tourists in suitably inappropriate attire, which helps to normalise my own situation. Take some photos. Very hungry : really hope they let me dine. They do. I sit in the outdoor courtyard under a very large gazebo. Waiting staff are disorganised at first, excepting the water girl. Then someone at the outdoor bar spots my wave and apologises. Speedy service after that. Food is awesome : New York steak sandwich. Just what the trail doctor ordered. Fresh lemonade ... niiice.

Head back to central Estes Park after wandering around the outside and gardens of the hotel.

Purchase some gifts .. the gift shops are numerous in Estes Park. Very nice "mom and pop" type shop .. buy some things here. Decide it's time for an ice cream. Go to a huge ice cream and sweet shop ... go crazy for the $7 ice cream .. the moniker of which, clearly states "2 scoops". An interesting mathematical phenomenon seems to exist in this Estes Park ice cream shop: the number "2" actually translates to a numerical value of "5". Hence I am provided with enough ice cream to satisfy the requirements of a family of four. Delicious, but some inevitably goes to waste.

I go to the Indian Village shop to buy a gift and then on to a Christmas shop, where I am able to purchase a tree decoration of the "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" : Cousin Eddie's RV. This will hang proudly on the tree this Christmas. I love this film.

I purchase a very nice ammonite fosil: really pleased with this. Some more pieces are purchased in various gift shops and I am satisfied with the day's achievements.

Again, I ask a random policeman for directions out of the town, onto the I36 headed east: it's my friend from earlier in the day: he readily helps me with said directions.

Back to the hotel at Broomfield and I look over my purchases like a child having returned from a day out at the seaside.

Salmon salad and another Rocky Mountain in the evening. Look over a few work documents and then to bed.


The rest of the week is work. It's good fun : some trips to Boulder and the surrounding area. We return to the Dining Hall at Chautauqua Park one evening - where I was able to show off my directions and local knowledge. Had a stroll around the Chautauqua Auditorium and spotted some bats.

Heading home to the UK now. Has been a great trip and hope I can come back next year.

Some photos here ...

-
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Last edited by ipso_facto; 08-04-2017 at 03:17 AM.
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      08-04-2017, 10:25 AM   #2
Patrick719
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Glad you enjoyed CO. Nice shot of the Stanley!
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      08-04-2017, 12:38 PM   #3
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Good to hear you had a fun time on your trip out here, and thanks for sharing some photos too.
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      08-04-2017, 12:54 PM   #4
Andrewthefirst
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Great write up, thanks for sharing
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      08-04-2017, 02:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrewthefirst View Post
Great write up, thanks for sharing
I loved the narrative. Glad you enjoyed. Estes Park is a pretty cool place.
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      08-04-2017, 02:37 PM   #6
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Hope you enjoyed your visit. The mountains are a keeper for me.
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      08-05-2017, 11:42 AM   #7
ipso_facto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick719 View Post
Glad you enjoyed CO. Nice shot of the Stanley!
Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonCSU View Post
Good to hear you had a fun time on your trip out here, and thanks for sharing some photos too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrewthefirst View Post
Great write up, thanks for sharing
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt@EuroJerks View Post
I loved the narrative. Glad you enjoyed. Estes Park is a pretty cool place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NFiftyWon View Post
Hope you enjoyed your visit. The mountains are a keeper for me.
Thanks to all. Back in blighty now.

My work week went pretty well ... so hopefully will get my pass for next year. Might head down to the Springs next year for a long weekend, as I made some new buddies who live down there ( well they have probably pretend to like me last week ... ha ha )
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      08-05-2017, 11:49 AM   #8
ipso_facto
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A few more shots ...
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