Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mountain Escape

by Maggie Sefton

Last week I ran away from home---for a day. It might not sound like much, but it was exactly what I needed at the time. After finishing revisions for the first in the Molly Malone mysteries and sending it off to my editor, I needed to "get my head" back into writing the second in the Molly mysteries. I'd started it last summer, but due to an intensive travel schedule I had only written five chapters. I was looking forward to getting back into the story, but I was also re-doing some of the plotline, tinkering. That's when the idea of escaping into the mountains came to me.

Getting outside and into Nature has always stimulated my creative Muse. Whether it's a simple walk in the trees, sitting on top of one of the high ridges on the western edge of Fort Collins looking down into Horsetooth Resevoir, hiking in the foothills, sitting beside the Cache La Poudre River in the canyon of the same name----all of it nourishes me---and my Muse. Ideas start flowing and new ideas show up suddenly. So---I've gotten into the habit of "escaping" into Nature whenever I start a new writing project or pick up an interrupted project and start up again.

This time instead of escaping into Poudre Canyon, I went to another favorite place---Estes Park at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition to the gorgeous park, there are also scores of scenic hotels & lodges dotted all around the park and the picturesque little town filled with shops and cafes. I like to try new places whenever I'm "hit" with the Escape Bug, so this time I went to a resort I'd checked out a couple of months ago---Deer Creek Resort. It's located on one of the main routes that run through and around Estes Park, leading up to one of the park entrances.

The rooms are nice and comfy with all the expected furnishings, electronics, etc, but it's the setting that attracted me. You can walk right outside your door onto a wide green sweep of grass that stretches all the way from the buildings to the river bank. There are also benches, swinging benches, and Adorondack chairs scattered all around the greens, which make it perfect to sit and watch the river.

The Fall River runs all along the edge of the property, splashing over rocks, creating eddies, and tumbling over a small waterfall. It's beautiful. And, it's noisy. Wonderfully noisy and loud when you're close. So noisy that it drowns out other people's conversations, even if they're seated several feet away. You don't even hear them. That's perfect for a writer. We want to disappear with the characters who are talking inside our heads. We really don't want to hear other people's conversations. :)

It was Heaven. Truly. I sat in a couple of different shady spots that first afternoon and brainstormed for three hours before I went into Estes Park and tried a new cafe for dinner. The next morning, I was outside on the green beside the river again for another 2+ hours, getting more ideas. And-----getting my head back into the mystery novel. It was so productive, I've promised myself I'll be back for another "sleepover" in September and maybe again in October. I'll still be writing the second Molly mystery---so I'll need another excuse to escape.

Do you have favorite places you like to escape to think or get ideas or simply relax?

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