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Posts Tagged ‘Colorado’

Summer adventures

We recently returned from a two week trip visiting friends and family out west. We had a wonderful time and I wanted to share a bit about our trip here. I will be writing about our adventures state by state rather than as they occurred.

We visited our dear friends, Steve and Karen who live near Denver. They hosted us wonderfully and we had a great time in their home and as we traveled with them. We were able to visit their church on the Sunday we were there and to hear their son, Ryan, preach and to meet his wife and children. We spent a few days in their home before starting off on a road trip.

One evening we took the train from their town into downtown Denver. We ate at The Spaghetti Factory Restaurant and then strolled around town. They showed us the office buildings where they used to work.

We traveled with them to Utah (which will be another post) and on the way back stopped to spend the night at the Hotel Colorado, which is reportedly the oldest hotel in Colorado. Teddy Roosevelt stayed there and there are pictures and a statue of him on display and the gift shop sells many kinds of teddy bears in his honor.

The hotel does not have air conditioning but fortunately the temperatures were quite comfortable the night we were there. The hotel is in the town of Glenwood Springs and is located right across the street from a hot spring pool where you can soak in the hot, mineral laden water. We had considered doing this but it was pretty expensive so we decided to forgo the experience. We did eat at another Italian restaurant called Italian Underground.

We ate breakfast in the hotel dining room and at the recommendation of the waiter we tried the French Toast which was coated in Corn Flake crumbs. It was delicious and is a technique I want to try to duplicate here at home. 🙂

We had a wonderful visit with our friends and were so thankful for their gracious hospitality and many kindnesses. We had a great time visiting places which were new to all of us and seeing places which were special to them. Our one regret is that Colorado and South Carolina are so far apart!

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Our last day out west

Shortly after we left our motel in Williams we felt as though we were driving through the Grand Canyon. The views were spectacular. Places to stop were few and far between so we were thankful we had water and snacks in the car. We would drive for miles and only see a few scrawny cattle and an occasional trailer or hogan. We stopped in one small town which had a trading post with this hogan outside:


When we first started planning our trip we wrote to Rob's cousin Glenn for advice since he had lived in Arizona for several years and knows the area quite well. He gave us lots of useful information and suggested that we might want to stop at the Cameron Trading Post. I had looked it up online and thought it might be a nice place to stop for lunch, so that was our goal. As we drove along through vast areas of desert we kept thinking we will soon be coming to a town called Cameron. Our anticipation grew as our GPS told us we were nearing our destination. We soon realized that the Cameron Trading Post was the main attraction. There was little else there but a lot of road construction and a dry river bed. The Trading Post itself was very nice. There are several buildings including an ice cream shop, post office, and an art gallery as well as the main building which contains the restaurant.

We browsed around the gift shop and saw many lovely things but most were too pricey for our budget. They had lovely baskets, such as this one which cost $2000.


They also had beautiful wool rugs. There was even a woman who was there demonstrating how the rugs are made:


Since the area is so isolated they also had a grocery section. If we had been travelling home by car instead of by plane I would have been very tempted to purchase a bag of this flour:


We decided to try the traditional Navajo Taco which is prepared with a base of fry bread instead of a tortilla. I had hoped they might have some other more traditional vegetables which I have read about but they didn't appear on the menu. The taco was good, and pretty large. We split one and this was my portion:


Here is a view inside the restaurant:


For most of the rest of our travel time in Arizona the landscape was still desert-like with low growing shrubs and few trees. It was still interesting to us how the topography changed in appearance as we drove along.





Almost immediately after we entered Colorado we noticed a lot more greenery and many more trees.



Our destination for the night was Durango, Colorado. As we were planning our trip one interesting place I had read about in Durango was the Bar D Ranch which features chuckwagon suppers. I couldn't find any information on line about the times for the supper. After we checked into our hotel Rob called the ranch and was told that if we headed out there right away we could make it. When we arrived we found we were the last people to register. As we entered the property the cowboys were in a little cabin greeting people and singing.


There were also a couple of gift shops. Shortly after we arrived everyone was asked to go to their assigned tables and we were given directions as to how to proceed through the food lines. We were impressed at how efficiently the food was served. The food itself was not outstanding, but the evening was a fun experience. You could choose between steak, chicken, or steak and chicken and pay accordingly. We chose the chicken.


Throughout the meal the staff, including the cowboys replenished beverages and were very helpful to older folks and children who needed assistance. After a while seconds were offered to those who wanted them and then everyone took their trays to the back and cleared and cleaned the tables.

The cowboys then came out and began their program. They sang quite a few western type songs and some patriotic songs and told some stories and a few poems. The entire program was very family friendly and it was a very nice way to end our travels.


The next morning we headed on our last leg of our trip and arrived at our friends' home in the afternoon in time to repack, rest, and spend one last evening with them. We had planned to take them out to dinner but they had prepared a special meal to celebrate my birthday which was later that week.

After a good night's rest we said our farewells and drove to the airport to drop off our rental car and to catch our flight back home. We were very thankful for the opportunity to make the trip, to visit with special friends, and to see more of the beauty the Lord has created for us to enjoy.

Next post: Family reunion


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Wildlife in the West

I wasn't quite sure how to approach the topic of wildlife for this post. We saw quite a variety of wildlife during our time in Colorado. We saw very few animals during our time in New Mexico and Arizona.

While we were staying in the YMCA camp our friends took us on a couple of day trips to nearby places of interest. One day we went to Bear Lake which was pretty close to where we were staying. The water was a beautiful blue and there was still snow on the ground in a few places near the lake.


As we were driving to the lake we had our first glimpse of elk and we also saw a magpie. We had seen magpies in France before and of course we remembered Heckle and Jeckle from our childhood. 🙂


On another day we drove into the Rocky Mountain National Park and went up nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. We saw many elk from a distance and while we were eating a picnic lunch some very friendly elk came pretty close to us.


We also were fortunate to see some moose. We saw some from a distance and then we happened upon a female standing quite close to the road.


When we were pretty high up in the mountains it actually began snowing a little and we got a picture of a few flakes that landed on Rob's shirt. He wanted to "enjoy the cold" so he didn't wear a jacket.


There were signs up at the higher elevations asking people "to respect the tundra" by staying on the paths which were provided.


Some very cute little animals who live at the higher elevation are the marmots. They look sort of like groundhogs and we saw several of them sunning themselves on the rocks. We saw one who appeared to be kind of a ham. He stayed out while many tourists were taking his picture and he kept turning to allow us to get shots from different angles.


We also saw wildlife near our cabin at the camp. From the porch we saw chipmunks, ground squirrels, and mule deer. Rob got this picture of a mule deer one evening when we went for a walk.


Late in the first afternoon we were at the campsite we went for a walk and talked with a couple who were staying two cabins away from ours. They told us that while they had been away that afternoon a bear had come onto the porch of their cabin and had gotten into their hummingbird feeders.

The next afternoon when we returned to our cabin we noticed the rangers were at the cabin next to ours. While the people were out in the afternoon a bear had broken in the screen in a window they had left open.


The bear crawled through and had made a real mess in the cabin. She had opened the refrigerator and had eaten lasagna and yogurt and had smashed eggs all over the floor. She had opened cabinet doors and had smashed in the microwave (apparently she couldn't open it without thumbs.) She had opened a jar of nutella and a jar of peanut butter. She took the peanut butter with her. When we arrived on the scene she was sitting behind the cabin eating peanut butter. The rangers kept trying to run her off but she kept coming back for the peanut butter. We later found out from the neighbors that she had two cubs up a tree behind the cabin.

Below is a video Steve captured of the bear not far from the cabin she broke into. If you are reading this blog post in e-mail or in a blog reader, you will probably have to go to the blog post itself to view the video. Be patient - it may take it a few seconds to load.

The next morning we learned that the bear had come back during the night. The neighbors had two cars. One car was locked and one was unlocked. The bear got in the unlocked car and just walked around a bit. She actually tore the door handles off of the locked car. We discovered that she had investigated our car but fortunately didn't do any real damage--just some minor scratches and some paw prints.


Before we started our trip Rob had opened a private Facebook account just for our family so we could tell our kids what was happening and post pictures for them. He named the account Rob and Becka's Great Adventure. Our friends Steve and Karen had never seen a bear at the camp before and they blamed it all on us for wanting an adventure. 🙂

We had one last encounter with wildlife when we returned to Steve and Karen's house. They had a friend dog-sit their little daschund, Nikki while we were at the cabin. In the early evening when we returned they let her out in the backyard and she ran to a corner and was barking her head off. There was a raccoon in the yard and he quickly climbed the fence and scrambled up a tree. Nikki even barks at animals on TV. Here she is in action:


In my next post I will tell about some of our adventures in Arizona.


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Our Colorado Adventure

We had a wonderful time visiting our friends Steve and Karen in Colorado. They are the perfect host and hostess and tried to think of everything to make us comfortable and to show us many of their favorite places in the mountains in the days we were with them. They rented a cabin at Estes Park Center YMCA of the Rockies. The YMCA has 137 cabins that they rent out and they have summer camps for children too. They have a cafeteria, a post office, a general store, miniature golf, etc. Here is a picture near the front of the campground:


Our cabin was one of the highest in the park. We had this lovely view from our front porch:


Here are some pictures from the interior of our cabin:




Various donors have donated money to build the individual cabins over the years and each is furnished by the donors. Our cabin was very well equipped and Karen did a wonderful job of planning the meals and gathering supplies to bring.

The views from around our cabin were spectacular. The mountains were truly beautiful. Here is the view behind our cabin:


Last fall there was severe flooding in the area and we were told that because of the extra rainfall that the wild flowers were especially plentiful this year. We saw many, many fields full of all kinds of wildflowers. Here are pictures of a few:




We were able to see quite a variety of wildlife during our time in the Rockies and in my next post I will tell about some of our close encounters. 🙂

Here's a final picture of sunset in the Rockies:



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