Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wednesday in Colorado - Big Five-Oh Over the Hill Drive, Hike, Beer, and Cake!

I'm having a really crazy week at work, in fact a crazy month, we have a big in-house move coming up so we went straight from year-end close (Scholastic's fiscal year is tied to the school year, running from June to May) into packing for the move. Perfect time to circle back to my Colorado trip pictures!

Wednesday of the trip was actually the day of my 50th birthday; TQ would've been happy going back for another hike at Chatauqua West, which would've been fun, but when we'd been discussing possible things to do with my cousin and his wife, they described a drive that would take us right up into the Rocky Mountain National Park, with a possible stop for a short hike at Lily Lake, and lunch in Estes Park. That all sounded really great to me, so that's what we ended up doing, and wow, was it gorgeous.

The drive up into the mountains was really interesting, we went from 5,200 feet in Lafayette, where we started, up to just shy of 9,000 feet at Lily Lake, and we could just see the spring rewinding as we went up - aspens that were in full leaf in Lafayette were just in that tender green of early spring up here. We had perfect weather for hiking, in fact it turned out that we really made the right call in heading for the heights, it ended up being downright hot lower down and hiking closer to Boulder might not have been quite as pleasant as it had been on our first hike there.

There was an interesting possibility for the Lily Lake hike in that the area had actually had a big snowstorm the week before we were there, and we were seeing trail reports talking about hip-deep snow. No problem, though, my cousin and his wife are proper Coloradans (she's from there, he's adapted very well) and have all the snow toys, so they loaned us a couple of pairs of snow shoes, just in case. I actually loved the idea of trying something I'd never done before on my 50th birthday, but as it turned out, there had been enough warm weather between the time that the trail reports we'd read were posted and the day we were doing this that most of the snow had melted. Still plenty to add drama to the scenery, but the trail was completely clear.

The Lily Lake trail that we'd picked as sounding the most likely to be accessible had 2 options, you could stay down by the shoreline of the lake, or you could take the Lily Lake Ridge for a slightly longer hike over a ridge that offered an incredible view of the lake and the mountains around it. So I didn't get to try something totally new on my 50th, but as I did mention in my first Colorado post, I did actually get to go over the hill, which I think is supposed to be a bad thing, but with such a beautiful hill to go over, I thought it was great (as you can tell from the grin I have on in the picture TQ took of me).

We stopped at the Estes Park Brewery for lunch after the hike  - good solid pub grub and some very nice beer, I had a Stinger honey wheat and I think TQ had their Renegade IPA and we were both very happy with our choices (in fact my one souvenir of the trip was an EP Brewery baseball cap, they happened to have one in my favorite teal and blue and I couldn't resist it). After lunch, we hit the road back to Lafayette, where we were meeting most of the family for dinner.

On the way back, there was a moment when I thought that the Google navigation seemed to be steering us strangely, and ordinarily I might have said something (Google navigation is pretty good but we've had situations it just wants you to go a way that doesn't make sense), but I'd overheard the tail end of a mysterious phone call of TQ's that morning, something about "Yes, she'll like that", and I thought this might have something to do with that.  That turned out to have been a call to 
the Button Rock Bakery to order a birthday cake for me, and the detour was so that we could pick that up. That was a fun surprise, I suspected TQ had been plotting something nice, but i didn't know what. 

And of course dinner with the family (with beautiful sparkly cake for dessert)  was the perfect end to this perfect day. I couldn't have asked for a better 50th birthday!

More photos from the day - click on the first one for a slideshow view. 


Laura Lee Carter said...

Thanks for the photos Bonnie! LOVE< LOVE< LOVE LIVING IN COLORADO!

bonnie said...

I don't know if I could handle a Colorado winter (TQ's a polar bear, he would love it, my preferences are a bit more towards the tropical), but boy is that a beautiful state!

There's actually been a family gathering on my dad's side of the family there a few years back, before my cousin and his wife moved there; I can't remember why I couldn't go but oh, the pictures made me so sad I'd missed it. Glad I finally made it out there!