FINALLY!! We are back in Colorado. This is year 9 for us. Beginning in 2009, we started spending each June out west in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. Our favorite place is by far Colorado. Last summer, we had to skip the trip. We were finishing up the house construction and just could not leave the property for 3 weeks to go out west.
This year, we made up for it. We spent the entire 3 weeks in our favorite places in Colorado. Estes Park, Crested Butte, Telluride, and Breckenridge. Some camping, some condo, all fun and thrilling to be in altitude again.
We left Tuscaloosa at 8:30pm (yes..PM.. we have a process for this) and arrived in Denver at 4pm the next day.
After the typical hotel breakfast, we made it to Estes Park to set up our campsite for the next week. Estes Park is the quintessential tourist town but it’s not a ski town. It is the east entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park so it has plenty to offer beyond skiing.
Before we arrived at our campground, we went to an old favorite for lunch. The Elk Horn Cafe is that small town diner with great food and good prices. They were familiar with gluten-free choices and that’s great news since both of us now have to eat gluten-free. I had smothered chicken and peppers with smashed potatoes and he had nachos with bison chili.
After we got to our campground, we had to set up our canopy and tent and prepare the bear box since a bear was found snooping around the campground that morning.
After a few years of tent camping, we have our packing and organization down to a specific plan with some Tetris-packing skills thrown in. We have a wet cooler, dry cooler, cooking utensils and hot pads, a bag for paper products, a bag for cleaning products. Propane is the way to go in case of fire bans and we must have 2 lanterns along with citronella candles.
Large 8-person tent is perfect for 2 people who need a shelter in case of rain. We have our air mattress, double sleeping bag, suitcases, and chair for sitting. This is an Instant-tent. We literally set it up in 60 seconds ONCE WE FIND THE DOOR . The rain fly has been tested many times and it works beautifully.
After we set up everything, we went back into town for groceries and a little downtown walking. I found a great local bookstore and the best iced cold brew this side of the MS river.Cold brew, heavy cream, sugar-free cinnamon. I love that they don’t mix it together. I like to mix as I drink.
One thing that I always look forward to in Estes Park is the Welcome Elk. I have no idea if this guy is the same one from year to year, but there is ALWAYS a very tame large Elk walking around town OR grazing under a sign when visitors first arrive in town. Tonight, he crossed the road slowly in front of our truck. Thanks, for the welcome, Elk.
After our walk around town, it was time for sunset rides through the park looking for wildlife. We saw a lot of elk and deer.
We ended the night with a campfire and a very quick dinner of hot dogs and guac. When camping, we live by the light. We read by the campfire and go to bed not long after sunset and we get up at sunrise. Just the way we like it.