Last week, my friend Stephy asked if I wanted to go to the mountains instead of going to work. Um, yes! After I got the all clear from the boss, I was ready for a day of fun in RMNP.
We had a bit of a slow morning due to the fact that I wanted to attempt to get tickets to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Sadly, I wasn't able to, but it only set us back about 30 minutes. We encountered another snafu when the road to Estes Park was closed due to flood damage from September, but Estes Park, Allens Park, and Lyons are all connected by a scenic loop and we were able to get there with no problem at all.
Stephy wanted to walk at Bear Lake, which is a 1/2 mile loop around a lake with a gorgeous backdrop. It's wheelchair accessible, which means the path is wide and mostly flat. It would be perfect for us and easy to walk for her almost 3 year old daughter.
The trail was a little soggy with some snow melt, but it wasn't too bad at the beginning. In fact, it was quite an enjoyable (albeit slow) walk and the surrounding mountains and trees were just breathtaking! When we got about halfway around the lake, we had to climb over some snow. It was hard enough that we could walk on top, but not easy for little hikers, especially on the slippery parts. We got some help from another adventurer, but it ended up taking about 3 times longer to do that stretch of the lake since it was nearly all covered in huge piles of snow pack.
In the end, we did it and we were all deemed strong, brave, and ADVENTUROUS! We decided to call it quits after one loop around since we were all getting hungry for lunch.
We had to drive to find a good picnic spot, but we got more incredible views and even saw this pretty lady just standing on the side of the road. We slowed to take a picture and she just posed for us!
We had a quite lunch by a raging river. I don't know why, but picnic lunches always taste better. This week, I've been on a major cheese/cracker/salami kick, so I packed my lunch accordingly. The only thing it was missing was one of those little boxes of wine like a juice box!
It was fairly cloudy all day, but we didn't get caught in a terrible storm like the clouds might imply. It made it a little more chilly, but nice for pictures. (By the way, when I was a kid I always thought it would be warmer in the mountains because you're closer to the sun. I mean, DUH!)
We found a kind of trail (it would appear, then disappear, then reappear) and we walked about another 1/2 mile. We walked to this beautiful green valley. Maybe I'm remembering Colorado incorrectly, but I was just taken aback by how green everything was up there. All that snow this winter/spring must have helped out a lot!
We drove back through the park and saw lots of elk and a mother and baby fox, but that was about it. On the way up, we stopped where people were out taking pictures and I caught a glimpse of a moose, but it never came out into a clearing for some good pictures.
We did happen to catch a big elk sitting along the side of the road, practically in someone's back yard!
We ended out trip with a stop at Grandma's Mountain Cookies, which is Stephy's favorite place in Estes for treats. I had never been there and couldn't decide between a regular sugar cookie (though it was decorated like the Colorado flag) or this chocolate chip cookie sandwich with buttercream in the middle. I absolutely made the right choice. It was sweet enough to last a while and for me to still be dreaming of it today!