I’m back and what a great week it has been!
Of the 5 days we spent in Estes Park, CO, only one of them was a beautiful, clear sunny day and I’m fortunate it was on my birthday. I’m kinda spoiled like that. Growing up in New England, I was always used to having beautiful weather on my mid-May birthday, but since moving out to Colorado, it’s been hit or miss. Yesterday was picture perfect.
We woke up to a beautiful view of the mountains, brilliant blue sky dotted with puffy clouds and took the opportunity to head into the park. Because of the time of year (and the snow earlier in the week was not at all uncommon for that area), most of the park is sadly closed until June. The week before we left, David showed me a picture he found online of the visitor’s center at the top of Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park and the snow pack was to the roof line, about 16 feet and it’s not uncommon for the roads to be covered in 20+ feet of snow; thus they only keep the perimeter, lower altitude roads maintained for year-round visitors.
And the entrance fee is not reduced ($20) even though you can only go in about 1/16th of the park, but I like to think of it as our annual donation to the national park system (and frankly it’s worth it!). We had a great time and were able to spend a good 4 hours in the park, admiring the views, breathing in the pristine air and spying on some of the wildlife.
The dogs were ancy (and aren’t allowed on any trails in the park, just perimeter parking areas), so we dropped them off at the cabin, headed into town where it felt luxuriously warm at nearly 60 degrees and dined on sushi outside near the river that runs behind the main street. Afterwards, we slowly traipsed our way in and out of little shops, supported the local economy with a few small purchases and enjoyed ice cream in the sun.
We ended the afternoon at our favorite independent coffee shop where they serve up a delicious Mexican hot chocolate and authentic chai (dolloped with fresh, thick whipped cream). Mmm…
We returned back to the cabin where the sun was setting, dined on nachos on our picnic table and didn’t say much trying to soak up the beauty all around us as well as the awareness that it was our last night there.
This morning we awoke to a frigid 30 degree fog and made our way home where we’ve been greeted by a heavy snowfall. And as much as we loved our retreat, it was nice to come home and jump into our large, cozy bed where we are permanently parked for the rest of the day. Perfection.
Whatever your plans are for this year, I hope you make some time for yourself, shut down from technology and spend time in nature, even if only in your backyard or local park.
Of course, if you can make it to the Rockies, that certainly doesn’t hurt the cause either…