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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Grateful Birthday Trip

We're just home from a very special trip.  Joe and I had the chance to use a flight voucher and travel. Taking advantage of the empty nest..or a time in our lives on Newark-Granville Road that was suppose to be empty (Nana and Pap to the rescue!)...we had fun thinking of where would we go over the 4th of July, my birthday!?  Colorado was selected when Joe learned of the Dead and Company Show in Boulder.  I'm indeed grateful for the chance to escape, vacation, holiday, run-away to the west with Joe!  It was just what I needed.  Here are some highlights from our time together in Colorado!                    

I took this photo of our ticket the night after the show.  I made friends in the audience- we were on the floor.

 A woman just knew this was my first show and gave me a rose. 

Here are some fun photos from the concert! By the way John Mayer is incredible!  I didn't know - meaning I couldn't sing a long- with the songs but I recognized the music and really liked it.  The people watching was fabulous- all ages, multigenerations enjoying this talented group of musicians presenting music that is truly epic.  Here is the set list!

We spent two days in Boulder.  Finding a place to stay was a challenge- but the Denison connection made it happen! We enjoyed connecting with Kirstin Forester Heinritz and her great husband! If you are in Boulder you have to experience- The Sink and West Flanders Brew House! YUM- the beers are great at the brewery- the saison in particular.  The food was great too- flat breads, mussels, salads- delicious!  They pointed us in the right direction for breakfast as well- Walnut Cafe!  We love a good breakfast and leaving Boulder on our way north to Estes Park we found Dot's Cafe- a self proclaimed dead head fit the weekend's theme very well.    I'm truly grateful for the hospitality and time to gather around a table, savor good food, toast the good life and be out in a beautiful city in the mountains.

We found ourselves grateful for the chance to hike, explore and soak in the fresh air and views!  In Boulder we hiked Colorado Chautuaqua.  What a charming wonderful location.  Our uphill walks were just what we needed- exercise and the chance to awaken the senses...the smell of pine, the sound of the wind and rustling leaves, the color of the sky a blue I've never seen.

On the fourth we headed north.  Once in Estes Park we located our lodge at Mary's Lake and headed in to the Rocky Mountain National Park!  Our feet being a tiny bit sore from all the walking, dancing, standing, hiking...we chose to make it our drive the Trail Ridge Road day!  What a treat to experience this special mountain high excursion! We stopped at the visitor center at 11,500 feet and hiked to 12,000 to take in the expeience of thiner air and incredible views.  Glad I packed the wind breaker- Mike Stoner advice all the way.  Once on the other side we stopped at Grand Lake and found lunch.  Our delightful bartender filled us in on her hikes in the west and the journey to the park area.  We headed back enjoying a few stops for more pictures and lots of one point I chided Joe for following to close to a car and said "what if they need to stop for wildlife" and as if on queue a female elk or maybe an antelope appeared on the side of the road! At the tundra level the backed up traffic was indeed due to elk and sure enough as we were approaching and ready to move along...they came close to crossing the road. Joe's tone had me giggling all the way!  I highly recommend taking in this special way to enjoy and access such majesty!


   I'm grateful for our energy as each day was filled with fun, adventure, laughs, toasts, togetherness and love.  Since it was the actual 4th of July...after we checked in and showered we headed to town for fireworks.  Joe had researched the best place to watch was the lawn of the Stanley Hotel.  The Stanley is a historic hotel know as the Shining hotel!  Our shuttle was a bit of an adventure but we did tour the town.  We made it in plenty of time to saddle up to the bar...the whiskey bar at the hotel.  The incredible manager, Jimmy (from Maryland!) provided incredible service and we enjoyed a special night.

This makes met think of "Love American Style" ??
The next day was my birthday.....I'm soooo grateful we decided to take the extra vacation time and not travel home on my birthday...instead we enjoyed a delicious breakfast on the porch of the lodge with a beautiful view. Then we found an incredible hike- the highlight of my trip. Three gorgeous lakes, perfect challenge of terrain and assent, wild life sightings including elk, beaver and fun chipmunks delighting the kids on the way.  Seeing snow in July on the mountains is cool, traversing it at high altitudes fun as well!  We wrapped up the night with dinner back at the Stanley. It was delicous and quite a treat.  Joe and I just don't take time as much for dinners out like this and I savored every minute- yes, I'm so grateful for Joe, our marriage, my 38, oh I mean 48 years! We actually enjoyed rest time on the 5th and I read a lovely book to review on one's birthday- Gifts of the Sea by Ane Morrow Lindbergh. I'm in a busy, beautiful, awkward, full time in my life and trips like this are important, reflection, challenge, escape and was all filled with gratitude, grateful is indeed where I am.
Emerald Lake RMNP

Do you see the elk
One thing we also experienced was the wild weather!  We had rain, hail, sun requiring sunscreen, a range of temps from 60-80..beautiful and fascinating that the park/mountains produce their own weather.

This is the website where we found our hike!!  It was just what we needed!!

And now we're home after a full day of travel. Thank you for reading and sharing our special trip.  We listened to great music the whole way- a lot of Grateful Dead....not a long strange trip at all....a short happy escape as part of my life on Newark-Granville Road.

Happy Birthday to me at the Stanley July 2016

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