Posted by: bree1972 | January 29, 2012

Rocky Mountain High – Part III -Everything as far as you can see . . . .

He saw everything as far as he could see.   From “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver

Tuesday morning dawned sunny and glorious.  The snow had ended during the night, and although the thermometer read a chilly -5 degrees, we bundled up with enough layers to stay toasty.  Being inside on that beautiful day in the high Rockies was not an option any of us even considered.  We were ready to “hit the slopes” – but without the skis!

Ted and I made the decision weeks before this trip that skiing wasn’t in our future.  I can get the “Klutz of the Year Award” for trying to walk and chew gum at the same time, and I knew the complicated acts of snapping myself into skis, getting upright and balancing with just two little skinny poles as support –  then sliding downhill on snow and ice – could only end with a trip to the emergency room for me.  Ted – I’m sure – could have managed with a little practice, but thankfully, he decided against trying it out also.  Blake has skied a little before, and Rich and Anna, the couple who joined us late on Monday night, were good skiers.  But all three of the young folks decided to stick with the old folks, bless their hearts.

Seeing the mountain first thing Tuesday morning, no longer dreamlike in falling snow, was like bringing a camera lens into sharp focus.

Each snow crystal seemed to stand out against a background of millions more, and the smoke from chimneys appeared frozen against the blue sky.

After an hour of walking around, the consensus was to find a way up the mountain - without having to slide down it on the return trip. A check at the ski lift window revealed just the ticket we needed - for $36 we could ride a lift up the mountain to a restaurant for lunch. The $36 included a $15 voucher for our meal. We went back to condo for a few more layers (that sun fooled us when we left the first time - minus 5 is COLD - and thank goodness, there was no wind).

I should stop and say right here that I am not a “rider of rides”.  I never have been.  I was a really cheap date at the county fair when I was a teenager because I didn’t want to ride anything – even the up/down of the Merry-Go-Round made me nervous – and the ferris wheel, thank you very much, but no.  Now in case you think I’m a completely boring person, I did – at one time – ride every ride anyone could persuade me to get on.  And afterwards – each and every time – I said, “I won’t ride it again.”  I have never been a dare-devil, don’t like to go fast, don’t like to get suspended in air and ROCKED (first and only ferris wheel ride), and don’t get my thrills from being scared silly.  OK – maybe I am a completely boring person.

For some reason though, the only part of the ski lift that bothered me was the thought of having to get ON it while it was moving and get OFF it while it was also moving.  Blake and Ted promised to sit on either side of me and physically man-handle me off, so I wouldn’t get caught upside-down in the chair going back down the mountain without them – so I was somewhat relaxed.  Somewhat.  Once we were aboard though – I forgot about being scared and concentrated on “seeing everything as far as we could see”.

At first, the bottom slopes were just below our feet, which rested on the bar we pulled down, and which I gripped in tight fingers as we ascended . . .

Looking to either side, we could watch skiers gliding effortlessly down the mountain . . . or skiing down to check on a fallen friend.

When we'd top a slope that we'd think must surely be the "last one", there would be four more ahead of us. Watching the skiers criss-cross the snow was awesome from our vantage-point above the trails.

Rich and Anna wave from the chair in front of ours.

Cathedral mountains.

We got off at the top and watched the brave folks ski off the lifts and start immediately down the mountain.

We took a much slower approach and posed for a family photo - with mountain peaks seeming to stretch out forever behind us.

Rich and Anna in front of the restaurant at the top of the mountain - over 10,000 feet above sea level.

Inside the Spruce Saddle Restaurant, which had 10-12 food stations that all fit within the $15 food allowance. Well, except for mine. I was the only one in the crowd who said, "I don't want to lug a bottle of water up the mountain with me. I'll just buy one up there." I did - $5.50 for 16 oz. of water. Yikes!

As we came out of the restaurant, it was a little daunting to look around the corner and know, once we got back on the ski lift , we were going to go to the edge of that first dip there by the trees . . .

. . . . and then go straight down.

As we came over one hilltop, we saw a sign below us . . . .

. . . . cautioning skiers and snowboarders not to jump over that snow-covered outcropping because there were other people skiing below it.

The bottom of the mountain comes into view - still a long way off.

Almost there.

We spent the rest of the day exploring and shopping, and after a really good Mexican dinner at the Coyote Cafe, we fell into bed wonderfully full – and exhausted.

Morning came way too soon.  After a continental breakfast provided by the condos, we packed up and made the 10 a.m. check-out with no problem.

Heading back to Ft. Collins . . . .

. . . through Colorado's high country.

Random Photos

Snow-laden branches wait for the sun.

Snow collected within the geometric twigs of a White Birch tree.

Skiers "park" their skis and snowboards outside the Spruce Saddle Restaurant.

On the condo balcony.

Blake - just off the lift at the top of the mountain.

What a trip!  So much fun, so many memories made.  Thank you, Blake, for inviting us.  Love you more!

On Friday:  Back to the lake, where we had some unexpected forest critters surprise us one morning!  See you then!



  1. What a majestic view of the Rockies. Now Brenda, doesn’t all that snow and cold want to make you become a Northern gal???

    I love the pictures of when you are coming down the ski lift. They are fabulous. You had a wonderful day to go up and down the mountain.

  2. What beautiful country! WOW! The mountains from the top looking down almost look like a canvas painting instead of real mountains. Truely amazing!. Blake done outdid himself taking you on this snow trip. 😉 I can only imagine the things you will have to talk about. The beauty in those mountains…sigh…I haven’t seen anything like that since I left Germany.

  3. What a wonderful trip! Don’t worry about not being a rider of rides. I fit in that catagory right next to you. Between my motion sickness and fear of heights I’m not sure I could have ridden up the ski lift. I know for sure I would have had to use the motion sickness meds. But I would have wanted to see the view from the top. So some how would have gotten on the lift. The pictures are beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this trip with us.

  4. The views from the chair lift! Wow! Thanks for taking one for the team so we could see it with you. The exit/entry situation would have made me nervous too. Glad Ted and Blake were there to help. Can’t wait for Friday to hear the next part!

    • That’s the last post from the Rockies, Annie! It’s back to the lake on Friday!

  5. What a fantastic experience. All the pictures and narrative make us feel like we have been by your side the whole time. Rocky Mountain High and Blake, too!!!!

  6. Brenda,

    Awe inspiring? Oh my, yes! All I could say all the way through the blog was “Wow” over and over again. But you know, I would like to spend the winter in that little cabin on the side of the mountain. (I can dream, can’t I?) I will have to confess that I did laugh, just a little, when you described getting on and off the lift.

    Blake certainly knows how to plan a sight seeing tour, doesn’t he?

    However,I’ll bet Bear and Maddie weren’t too impressed when you told them about the trip. I’m sure they would have preferred that you stayed home with them.

    Looking forward to the critters on Friday. At least, I think I am.

    • Lowell, I thought the exact same thing when we passed that cabin! The question would be how to “lay in” enough supplies to last a month or so to prevent trips up and down that mountain! Maddie and Bear were indeed glad when they were “rescued” – we hated leaving them that long, but sometimes you just have to do something like that, or you’d be tied down forever and miss some really great trips!

    • Lowell, I thought the exact same thing when we passed that cabin! The question would be how to “lay in” enough supplies to last a month or so to prevent trips up and down that mountain! Maddie and Bear were indeed glad when they were “rescued” – we hated leaving them that long, but sometimes we just have to do it, or we’d be tied down forever and miss some really great trips!

  7. Wow! Great trip! What views! I’ll bet that ride was a thrill.
    I think your bottle of water cost so much because it’s like Mackinac Island– it had to be imported– from below. 🙂 or would that be up- ported?

  8. That type of landscape is hard to imagine for someone who was raised in flatland, USA! Well, they probably can’t imagine our Great Lakes, either. After the snow one the way up the mountains, you sure had a gorgeous day on top of the mountain! Wow! One of the few times I was ever at that altitude (Park City, Utah), I had altitude sickness and was too polite to tell my husband’s cousins that I thought my head was going to explode. Yup, definitely a flatlander! lol!

    Blake could always get a second job as a tour guide. He sure showed you a good time!

    • I had “hints” of altitude sickness too, Barbara. Mostly, I just stayed really thirsty, but I’d have an occasional headache. Luckily the headache wouldn’t last but 5-10 minutes. Definitely could tell the difference between climbing steps there and here though!

  9. Wow, what beautiful country you were in. The mountains of our western states are unbelieveable with God’s beauty. Such a great trip for you and Ted to take and have time together with Blake. Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a lovely trip. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos and narration.

  11. Your photos are breathtaking, Bree! What a memory-filled trip that was.

    I thought about you Friday as we were crossing the 300 bridge over Lake Blackshear, heading to Perry to see horse trainer Clinton Anderson. Then again on our return on Sunday. Please consider lunch in Thomasville (my treat!) before you head back north. I’d love to meet you in person!

    • Wish I had known you were coming through. Are you coming back this way again anytime soon?

      • Not in our immediate plans, but I’ll certainly let you know if I do!

  12. Wow – beautiful pictures!! You are so brave for riding on the ski lift too. I’m glad you and Ted are having such a wonderful time. Happy Wednesday!!

  13. Hey Girl, love the pictures, but love your Hat….

  14. Wow! Did not know you could ride up the ski lift if you weren’t skiing…and ride it back down…that would be awesome! Those pictures from up on the lift of the criss crossing ski tracks were beautiful! I’m so glad I got to see this because the odds of me getting my husband to go there in the winter is just about zero!

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