Friday, September 11, 2009

Our Western Trip

We got back from Rocky Mountain National Park on late on Monday. The last three days have been spent getting back into the swing of things around the resort. We did have a wonderful trip although at times I wasn’t sure I would live through it.

Our base of operations was Idlewilde By the River in Estes Park, CO. You can look them up at their website It was a great place for us. Not the least of its charms was that our cabin was ten (10) feet from a mountain stream that burbled along 24/7. One of the guys had good luck catching some 2 lb. trout in the river. One day sitting by the river we saw wild turkey on the other bank.
Our first day we got acclimated. That means driving around in a car to try to figure out things. The picture of the elk was taken that day. We must have seen over 100 elk just that first day. In addition there were mule deer. Tom and Melissa really had everything planned for us.
The second day was a hiking day. Four of us started at the top of a trail with one car and the other four started at the bottom of the trail with another car. It was a four-mile hike between the two spots. Luckily Bruce and I were in the downhill group. The very worst was the end of the hike down some stone steps that a man with very long legs had built. I made it (what choice is there) but it was not pretty.
On day three it was time to do some uphill hiking. We went two miles up (about 750 feet vertical) and two miles down. As long as I could stop every 2 blocks and catch my breath it was okay. Coming down there was thunder approaching so we made a quick trip of it. There were no stone steps so I did better.
Day four was the killer. We climbed 1100 feet over three miles and then back down again. Here is a picture of part of the trail. (Don't ask me why I can't move the picture down.) We saw the most glorious alpine meadows and lakes. It was worth the hike but my legs were pretty rubbery on the way down.
Although I moan and groan about the hikes, I would not have missed them for the world. Unfortunately, the vast majority of visitors to the park never take a hike. If I can do it as out of shape as I am, most visitors can do it. We also met two very interesting people on our hikes. One day it was a blind and deaf woman who was doing the same hike we were. On the last hike we met an 80-year old woman who was doing the hike alone.
Don’t think that hiking is all we did on this trip. It would not be a Kerfoot trip if we didn’t find some great restaurants and an awesome donut shop for breakfast. We also checked out several park visitor centers. And let’s not forget the gift shops. We go in with pencil and paper to write down the companies we like. Then when I get home, I look them up on the internet and you may see the items in the gift shop next summer.
All in all, it was a great trip. They didn’t seem to miss us at the lodge. We came home to Indian summer weather. It is positively my favorite time of year. The leaves are just starting to turn so there is lots of fall color yet to come.

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