The excuse for going to Colorado besides the obvious was Lindsay running in the Boulder Boulder 10k with her aunt. We stayed with them at their home in Evergreen. Sunday we picked up her race packet and explored downtown Denver. Denver seems like a clean and fairly tame city. I say that because I’m more used to the bigger city’s in the south that have a bit edgier feel. A pedestrian street called “The Mall” runs through the middle of town. It’s filled with stores and restaurants. We ate lunch at a place called Paramount, an old theater turned restaurant. The burger I had was great so no complaints here. We only spent a few hours total downtown so I can’t say I got a real Denver experience but I couldn’t tell you what the culture of the city is, well, unless hippie is a culture. The best thing about the city in my opinion is the white caps of the mountains in the background.
Monday was the Boulder Boulder run. The race runs through Boulder Co and ends in the University of Colorado football stadium. If you’re an SEC football fan you wouldn’t be impressed by the stadium itself but like all things Colorado the view in the background can’t be beat. Ben Hill Griffin is still my football home but you just don’t get views like that in Gainseville. The boys and I sat in the stadium waiting for Lindsay to finish her run. After it was over we set our sights on Rocky Mountain National Park.
The park is about an hour drive from Boulder and is in a small town called Estes Park. Estes park was packed full of people and traffic. Moving through there was a gruelingly slow process. The line to get in the gate to the national park was long as well. I doubt this is typical, however, because as luck would have it this was the opening day of Ridge Line Road. This road is one that is closed all winter for snow but when it’s open it takes to up, way up, to roughly 12,000 feet. Every year it is opened back up on Memorial Day and even still snow and ice cover much of the ground . Snow actually fell on us. It was the first time the boys or me had actually seen powdery snow! I get out at every turn to take pictures and it is cold. 34 degrees with a wind that felt like it was 50mph up there. Opening and closing doors was hard because of the wind. This Florida boy didn’t bring clothes for that. I don’t think I even own clothes for that!
We turn to go back down at the Alpine Visitor Center. I want to see Bear Lake. I saw it in pictures and it looked amazing so that’s where we head. As a side note, mountain driving can be nerve racking.
Many of the turns don’t have guardrails so one moment of not paying attention could be curtains for the whole family as Lindsay liked to put it. And overdrive off going up and low gear going down. A very different experience from the mostly flat land I’m used to seeing. It’s a slow drive up and a slow drive back down.
Eventually we arrive at Bear Lake which is at 9,000 ft elevation itself. Lindsay is asleep and didn’t feel very well so I left her in the truck and the boys and I did a short hike around the lake. Much of the area was still covered in snow and ice so I bet I was a sight to see in my jeans and sport-coat with a two year old on my shoulders. This as we’re passing people in what looks like ski clothes. The three of us had a snowball fight till our hands hurt and about then it started raining, or icing. While the first part of the path was nice, the home stretch was all slippery ice that seemed to extend over the frozen lake. I was worried about us falling through the thin ice but we stuck to the beaten path and made it back to the truck a little wet and quite cold.
After Bear Lake we headed back to Evergreen but stopped in Boulder for dinner. I wanted BBQ to we Googled some places and settled on one. I can’t remember the name of it but I wasn’t impressed. They had sauces called “Texas Sweet,” “Kentucky,” “Alabama” and such. You think it’d be southern BBQ but when I told the server I wanted sweet tea to drink I was politely inform they didn’t have any. What kind of BBQ place doesn’t serve sweet tea? The food was okay. And oh yeah, they don’t have PBR either. I had to drink some craft beer stuff. Oh well, there’s still the mountains and Boulder looks like a nice town that’s very pedestrian friendly.
The next day we took it easy just exploring around Evergreen itself. We wanted to feel well rested for the long drive home the next day. Colorado was a unique experience for us and one we’ll hopefully do again. Maybe next year’s Boulder Boulder run. Next post will be the drive home.