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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Springtime in Colorado's Rocky Mountains

We just returned home from a week in the Rockies - a graduation gift to our grandson, George. Our son, Chris, joined us.

As foolhardy travelers often do, we failed to anticipate the weather in the high country. A jacket and a couple of sweatshirts should have been sufficient for May, right? Not so.

We had snow, cold weather, cold rain and more snow. So like the good tourists we were, we bought sweatshirts and jackets. The store clerks loved us. Aside from weather issues, we had a marvelous vacation.

I can never adequately describe the magnificence of the Rockies. The deep snows added to the beauty. But what impresses a college kid from Kansas City?

Untouched snow, hairpin curves, deep blue skies, wildlife, low humidity and no bugs! I have to agree with him.

Moose in Rocky Mtn NP
With the skiing season over and the summer season ahead, the traffic was
light. What to do in the off season? We went searching for moose in the southern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. Most of this awesome park is still closed because of weather, but we found half a dozen or so moose, a fox, chipmunks and the ever present magpies.

Red fox
We stayed in Granby, which is a couple hours northwest of Denver on Hwy 40. To reach it, we had to cross Berthoud Pass. According to Wikipedia, "the pass is one of the most notoriously difficult passes in Colorado for motorists, based on its height as well as the large number of switchbacks on the southern side of the pass."


Climbing rocks at Granby Lake
We explored the side roads that were open and oohed-and aaahed over the snow-covered views. Although the guys did a little rock climbing, the hiking would have to wait for drier weather.

To reach Granby, we drove through Idaho Springs, Winter Park and Fraser. On north of Granby on Hwy 34, Grand Lake enchanted all of us. To reach it, we passed Granby Lake and Grand Lake. The clear mountain water reflected the snow-capped mountains and we all took pictures. George quickly developed a penchant for rock-skipping. 


One of many chipmunks
Since Colorado is famous for its micro-breweries, we wanted to visit one. Chris discovered Tommyknockers in Idaho Springs, and George became fascinated with the name. According to legend, a Tommyknocker is an elf-like creature who lived in the cracks of mines. Miners swore they heard the tommyknockers singing and working in the mine shafts.


Tommyknockers in Idaho Springs
This choice was a hit! George and Chris each ordered half-samplers and we all tasted them. The food was great but be forewarned - they serve huge helpings. We also sampled the craft soda and all agreed that the strawberry creme was our favorite.

Actually, we ate our way through the week, and every meal was delicious. We visited Azteca Mexican Restaurant and Maverick's Grille in Granby and would recommend both of them. In Winter Park, we stuffed ourselves on burgers and nachos at The Ditch. In Grand Lake, we tried both El Pacifico Mexican Restaurant and Pancho and Lefty's. All excellent choices.

As beautiful as the scenery was, the best part of the trip was spending time with George before he takes on the adult work world. We loved it and we hope he has memories that will last a lifetime. Isn't that what vacations are all about?

Granby Lake




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