The “First Time in Colorado” Post

Back in July, I took the man-friend on an adventure for his birthday.

I consider myself to be the Queen of Spontaneous adventuring, and this was no different.  We found out at noon on Friday that Ronnie would not be working over the weekend, and we set out at 7 pm for beautiful Estes Park, Colo.  This was a first for both of us in several ways.  It was our first road trip, our first visit to Estes Park, and our first birthday together.  Ronnie had been to Colorado once before, but I had never seen a mountain.  We spent Friday night in Goodland, Kan., and we left early the next morning with an overly excited me behind the wheel.

Nothing could prepare me for the beauty I would find.

First Mountain

This is the first up-close-and-personal mountain I have ever seen.  I’m posting it, grainy cell phone photo, license plate and all, because it was such an exciting moment in my life.  I was exhilarated.

If you have never been to Estes Park, you should go.  Here is the city limit sign:

Estes Park City Limit

You enter the town over a lake. Literally the most gorgeous lake I have ever seen.  We wandered around town for a bit, but the real draw for us was Rocky Mountain National Park. We were going to go in there, find a mountain, and conquer it.

Deer Mountain

After asking several guides (and hearing awful stories of hikers struck by lightning) we decided that Deer Mountain was the mountain for us.  The guide warned us that there would come a point where we suddenly were going downhill on our trail, and we would have to climb off the trail to hit the actual summit. Fine by me, I thought. Piece of cake. Until this point, I had considered myself a great hiker.  I also had never hiked anywhere where altitude had actually been a factor.  That hike was tough.  There were switchback turns up the trail, and I had to stop and catch my breath at literally ever turn.  All the while there were women carrying multiple children up the mountain passing me with ease.  The hike up turned out to be the least of my worries.  On the way down, after  using the restroom taking a break behind a boulder, I got the bright idea to just walk straight down the mountain instead of following the switchback trail.  Bad idea.  The trail just switch backed right on to the west of us instead of us meeting up with it again like I thought.  I panicked was slightly distraught.  Thankfully, Ronnie kept a cool head and got us back to the trail.  It was near the bottom too, so we were golden.

With the hike done, we went on a drive through the park.  It was getting too dark for us to do another hike, so we drove around looking for wildlife.  We saw mule deer, momma elk, and baby elk, but no daddy elk or bears could be found.  I tried calling to them in their native language chewbacca noise to no avail.  I’m actually still really upset about this.  I wanted to see a bear.

Momma Elk and Baby Elk

We had planned on camping in the park, but we were so spontaneous we didn’t make reservations.  There was literally nowhere to stay in all of Estes Park that night.  So, we drove back to Boulder to stay in a too ritzy hotel (because it was his birthday and I go all out).  We drove back home the next day, but it was a perfect two day adventure to the mountains.

CO6 CO7 CO8 CO9 CO10 CO11

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