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?

16 comments:

tonya kappes said...

My DH and I have a cabin in the woods that we rent. We've been going there for five years and I love it there. It's a couple's only cabin and cozy, cozy, cozy. He surprises me at the right times.

Dru said...

You make areas of Colorado so enticing that I'm going to add it to my list of places I want to visit.

I go to Central Park when I need a little nature loving time. Even a trip to the Statue of Liberty can bring some peace.

sumagoo said...

I agree with you, Maggie. Nothing like the mountains to relax. We go to Salida or Buena Vista. To fish and hike.
But if can't take the hour to go, we go to The Great Sand Dunes National Park. Love it there, can hike the dunes or the Sangre De Cristo's or just people watch at the dunes. Really love it when the creek is running to watch the kids play in the water.

Rural View said...

Our favorite place is Algonquin Provincial Park north of Toronto. Hiking trails, lovely places to canoe, and a wonderful place on Lake of Two Rivers called Killarney Lodge.

Linda McDonald said...

I go to the beach or the bay here in San Diego. I love being around the water. I'm going to have to plan a trip to CO. I have not been to Rocky Mountain and I know it must be gorgeous. Thanks for the tip about Lakeshore Lodge. I will check that out. We were in CO back in 1996 when we rafted the Arkansas River through the Royal Gorge. It was so beautiful there on the river.

Heather said...

While I love the mountains (even after nearly falling off Pike's Peak at age 5), I have an affinity for water. Lake, river or ocean, there's nothing that can soothe me like sitting beside water for an hour or four.

CindyD said...

We just got back from a trip up the California coast (changing motels every night) and we want to go back to Cambria and stay put for a few days.

Maggie Sefton said...

Tonya---Ohhhhh, wow. . .you guys have a cabin in the woods. How wonderful! I'd be in it a lot.

Dru---Hey, I love Central Park. Daughter Melissa's apt is a block and half from the 77th Street entrance. It's a beautiful park and really is an escape back to nature. That park is HUGE and you can get in there and forget there's a city "outside." Enjoy.

Maggie Sefton said...

sumagoo---you know, I have to confess, that is one of the few spots in Colorado where I've never visited. I had visited the dunes of northern Indiana, and I kind of thought it was the same. I've heard it's WAY different. I have to go visit.

Rural View---Boy, that sounds exactly like Rocky Mtn National Park. Not surprising. You've got the Canadian branch of the Rocky Mountains. :)

Maggie Sefton said...

Linda----That sounds like a wonderful trip. I've rafted other rivers but not the Arkansas. Come visit.

I know what you mean, Heather. I love BOTH mountains and water and relax utterly beside whichever one is in front of me.

CindyD---you should do that, definitely. Slow down and relax----and enjoy.

Linda C said...

Was just in Colorado last month for vacation, now we are trying to figure out how to move there. Rocky Mountain National Park was so awesome, along Red Rocks, Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak! It is a beautiful area!

Helen Kiker said...

For me it is a nearby nature park. Many times when I am walking there is noone else other than the members of my family in sight. You feel like you own the place.

Helen Kiker
hdkiker@comcast.net

Maggie Sefton said...

Linda---You're right about that. It IS beautiful here. But make sure you have a secure job or a steady source of dependable income before you move here. Colorado is still in the midst of recession as far as the job market goes. And it isn't over by a long shot.

Helen---Don't you love that, Helen? It's so peaceful.

Vickie said...

Lucky you! I love the escapes to the mountains especially in the smokin' hot summer. One year was Winterpark and one year was up to Steamboat, both places are gorgeous even in summer. The botanic garden up in Steamboat is superb, I always look for the botanic gardens or something similar whenever we go someplace. Have to talk to DH, we haven't been up to Estes in forever. We live in Thornton, not far at all.

Maggie Sefton said...

Rocky Mtn National Park is so close, it's easy to escape up there, even for less than a day. Like Cache la Poudre canyon. It's on the north edge of Ft. Collins. You can be beside the rushing river in less than half an hour.

Kelly L said...

Your descriptions and photos are so beautiful, it makes me want to visit! My favorite place to visit and relax is the beach. I love the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach and the feel of the sand between my toes. It gives such a sense of peace.