Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Escape to the Mountains

I got to escape into the High Country last week. Finally! It was only for a day, but it was worth it. Somehow, My July and half of August wound up scheduled with long-delayed appointments, meetings, etc that I hadn't been able to escape until now. That's unusual. Usually I race up to the mountains in mid-July if I can.

Since I could only escape for a day and had to return that evening, I drove to the closest spot that had gorgeous views of the mountains---Rocky Mountain National Park. It's only an hour from my front door. Estes Park, the charming little village at the mouth (and near both entrances) of the park, is filled with cafes and hotels/motels AND a beautiful lake right at the edge of town. Lake Estes greets you as you crest the top of a ridge leading into town. As soon as you round the curve of Highway 34, coming from Fort Collins/Loveland right through the beautiful Big Thompson canyon---there it is. The lake, the village of Estes Park, and surrounding it all---Rocky Mountain peaks. almost a complete circle of gorgeous mountain peaks.

These are the high peaks, too. The 12,000, 13,000, and 14,000 foot peaks. If you're ever in Rocky Mountain National Park, you will be able to drive a stunning road to the very highest point in the park and down again toward Grand Lake, Colorado, on Trail Ridge Road. At that height, you are "above timberline," as they say---in the alpine tundra. Lots of mountain trails there, too, as there are all throughout Rocky Mountain National park. There are trails beside mountain streams, through fields of flowers, and climbing the sides of mountains.

I drove throughout the park on one of my favorite drives, then back to Lake Estes, and to a beautiful lodge right on the lake. Lakeshore Lodge, as a matter of fact. There, I settled in on the shady portion of the wraparound deck overlooking the beautiful lake---and read. And gazed at the setting. And----relaxed. I was past due for some mountain relaxation.

I enjoyed myself so much even with that short trip, I plan to escape another day this week. Either back to that prime spot on the lake or---maybe I'll drive up into the Cache La Poudre canyon north of Fort Collins. It's a wilderness river, the Cache La Poudre, and the canyon is Roosevelt National Forest. Only camping is allowed. And the river is a beautiful, powerful mountain river. I've "waxed poetic" about the river ---or as close to poetic as I get---in some of the Kelly Flynn Knitting mysteries.

I keep a folding chair in the trunk of my car all the time during the summer in case I get the urge to escape into the canyon and go sit beside that beautiful river----and write---or brainstorm---or simply relax.

How about you? Where's your favorite nature spot nearby where you like to escape to relax and recharge?