Americana in the Rocky Mountains.
27.11.2008 - 08.12.2008 3 °C
Now we couldnt possibly have come to the States without visiting our excellent friends the Breezys who we had spent months travelling in tandem with through Asia! We had agreed months previous in some back alley Asian bar that we would most definately visit on our way home, so true to our word on day 5 we left LAX and flew to Denver, Colorado.
It was great to see the guys again waiting for us at the gate after a few months without proper drinking buddies! And we were whisked off out of Denver and across the plains into the Rocky Mountains to their home town of Estes Park, and what a beautiful spot it was! Estes Park is located right at the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park and is a beautiful American town. Shadowed by the mountains and surrounded by the national park it is a stunning spot. And the elk roam free! We had to 'shoo' one out of the driveway when we pulled up to the house.
We had been warned that we may have been too early for the snows, but luckily for us two 'snow-aficionados' it started snowing the day before we arrived! We loved it here.
Actually one of Estes Parks claims to fame is its where Stephen King stayed and was inspired to write 'The Shining'! I presume because of the hotel he was in, and not the pscyhopathic demeanour of any of its inhabitants! Also Dumb and Dumber was filmed here...any of the scenes in Aspen were actually here.
So we had arrived in the Rockys, and not only that but it was Thanksgiving! Such a slice of luck for us as we happened to be in the States and with friends to experience this classic American holiday.
Breezy had made a contraption in their back garden that the turkey was cooking away in when we arrived teasing the taste buds for Thanksgiving dinner! Dinner was exceptional, hats off to the cooks for an almighty feed! Again it was just a great occassion for myself and Lorraine to experience the quintessential American holiday in such a stunning location. Not to mention the madness that is 'Black Thursday' the following day! Another uniquely American tradition of every man/woman for his/her self in the sales the day after....sheer violent bargain fuelled madness!
So we spent the following evening of Black Thursday hanging out with a few beers and then went down to the main street (with Irish coffees in our flasks) to catch the Thanksgiving Parade. The parade was excellent fun the whole town had turned out to line the snowy streets and cheer on the passing floats and bands, there was a lovely community atmosphere there and the coffees kept us nice and toasty throughout!
With the parade finished we went to the local with the guys and their lovely friends who we were introduced to that night for some drinks...and myself and Lorraine were refused and had to go back to the house to get i.d.! That hadnt happened in a long time....or since! We were flattered!
Estes Main Street (Taffy shops everywhere!)
Toni's family previously ran a Rock Shop in the town which we visited on our way to the Park. A quaint little stone building with an open fire bustling with people. It was like walking into Aladdins cave.. Different coloured crystals, minerals & fossils glistening from every corner.
The Rocky Mountains are the majestic backdrop for the little town of Estes & dotted throughout the ascent up the mountain are the most luxurious log cabins I have ever seen. The setting is so stunning it feels like your looking at a film set. Myself & Rob could not wait to explore the National Park so when Toni & Breezie offered to drive us up so we were delighted. We strolled along a small mountain trail with the first snow of the season crunching under our feet.. bliss
The park is enormous however we did see a big herd of Elk feeding. The place really just took my breath away.
Only in Estes do you have to fight your way past a couple of Elk in order to collect your post
After a good hike there is nothing like a good Irish stew to warm your bones. Myself & Rob did our best at creating an infamous Irish Stew as a thank you to the Breezies.. Toni & Breezie lived to tell the tale so i guess it wasnt that bad ha.
On our last night in Estes Toni took us to visit friends of theirs who lived nearby as she had to show us something that they had talked about months previous whilst we had been travelling. For reasons known only to themselves, their friends had built a full size replica Mongolian yurt in their back garden! It was incredible, we stepped out of the snowy night and into the warm confines of the yurt to find an amazing space with a chimney stove in the centre. It was a great place to just chill out with a few drinks, tucked away in the heat and out of the cold of the Rocky Mountains early winter.
Mongolian Yurt...in Colorado!
Unfortunately our holiday within the holiday was coming to an end and we were flying out early the next morning to San Francisco. We had an amazing time in the Rocky Mountains experiencing some of the facets of normal proper American life (ie not Manhattan/Beverly Hills!) and confirming with us that the American people are just really really.......nice! Just really exceptionally nice people! Apart from the Breezies of course......who are that tad bit more "special"!!
And to sign off on a brilliant week, we were even treated to a spectacular sunrise on our early morning drive to the airport!