Monday, April 5, 2010

Rocky Mountain High

At long last, here is my promised recap of our trip to Estes Park, Co.
Our flight to Denver on Saturday (my darling fiance's 30th birthday) was pretty uneventful and when we arrived, we were given a giant Chevy Tahoe to drive around in. The Tahoe came in handy when it was time to haul around our rented skis, but aside from that, it was definitely more vehicle than we needed. We were, however, grateful for the 4 wheel drive because we needed it to get up the driveway to our cabin every day.
We stayed at the Amberwood Cabins and Lodge in Estes Park and were really pleased with our experience. We had a nice little cabin all to ourselves. The interior was entirely wood paneled, which made it feel incredibly cozy. We were able to cook meals in our cabin kitchen and have a nice fire in our fireplace every night. It was lovely!
Cooking dinner was incredibly convenient because once we got into Estes Park, we discovered that virtually all of the restaurants had closed at 8pm (darn winter season). Fortunately, we were able to get some tasty Mexican food at a restaurant called Ed's Cantina. Happily, it stayed open until 9. It was at Ed's Cantina that I learned that while the green chili in Colorado is not actually green, it is delicious!
The next morning, we were supposed to get up very early to go horseback riding. However, it was 17 degrees when we woke up, so we canceled our reservation with the stable and went back to bed. We slept in, then went into town for supplies and snowshoes. We both got really hungry before we made it back to the cabin so we stopped at The Egg and I for lunch. It was great- I highly recommend the Hiker's Benedict, which was basically Eggs Benedict with asparagus and ham.
After lunch we hiked over three frozen lakes- Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Eagle Lake- in the Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a beautiful 3.4 mile hike. It was a little tough at first but once we got used to climbing uphill it was well worth the effort. It helped that the entire walk back was downhill, of course. On the way back from our hike, we saw several herds of Elk. I was incredibly excited about this. Of course, a couple hours later, we saw another herd of Elk hanging out next to the grocery store parking lot, right between the Safeway and the local liquor store- it was pretty funny!
That night, we grilled out for dinner. Actually, my darling fiance grilled out while happily drinking bourbon and smoking a cigar (and wearing his new cowboy hat), while I stayed inside where it was warm, prepping the meat and making a salad. We had steak for dinner, and made barbecue chicken to reheat the rest of the week. We had a local wine with dinner that was really good. It was the Guy Drew 2005 MSCF red table wine.
The next day, we drove to Eldora to go skiing. On the drive there we drove the Peak to Peak Highway and we drove back home a different route through the Boulder Canyon. The views during both of these drives were amazing and we took a lot of time to stop and take pictures.
Eldora was a lot of fun because it wasn't very crowded and it was small enough for us to ski practically the whole thing in one day. We were also pretty pleased with ourselves because we were able to save a ton of money by renting skis in Estes Park and buying discounted lift tickets there instead of at Eldora. There were a lot of blue runs at Eldora and we spend the first part of our day on those so I could warm up. After lunch, I decided to brave the black slopes (which I have never done!) I skied really well! I skied on three different black slopes and was even able to work on developing short parallel turns. It helped that the slopes (and especially the blacks) weren't very crowded and that the slopes were also nice and wide, despite being pretty steep!
When we went to ski the first black slope, it had been temporarily closed due to wind, and we were practically the first people up there once it opened. We were able to ski down twice and have the slope entirely to ourselves. It was amazing!
Tuesday was our last full day in Estes Park. We woke up early and went on a breakfast ride at Sombero Stables. Horseback riding was fun and we were happy that we'd rescheduled. Our ride in 45 degree weather was much more pleasant than it would have been in 17 degree weather!
Our final planned activity in Estes Park was a couple's massage at the Riverspointe Spa. My darling fiance had never had a massage before, and I think he really enjoyed himself. He had a hot stone massage and I had a massage that combined hot stones and essential oils. We both got mud facials as well. It was really relaxing and definitely helped work the soreness out of my muscles from all the winter sports earlier in the trip! I'm also pretty obsessed with the way Thieves Essential Oil smells.
We spend the rest of the day walking around downtown and buying souvenirs for people. On Wed. we flew home. Our trip was really fun and relaxing and I would totally recommend Estes Park as a great place for a vacation. I think it would also be a good place to vacation with children because there is so much to do outdoors.

Where do you like to go on vacation? Do you have any trips planned?

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