Posted by: bree1972 | January 17, 2013

Sparkling Lights and Rocky Mountain Highs

When Blake told me before Christmas he was planning to move to a different Ft. Collins location, my MOM antennae went up and started flashing like Rudolph’s nose.

I don’t really need an excuse to visit my boys, but it never hurts to have an objective in mind when I invite myself over – especially to Colorado!  Consequently, Blake’s Christmas gift was a coupon stating, “This entitles you to one Mom visit, with some room decorating thrown in for fun.”  I think he smiled when he opened it – oh heck, of course he did!

Blake is sharing a home in the Old Town section of Ft. Collins, very close to the center of town.  So close in fact that walking downtown is simple, except when it’s -3, which it was on Saturday morning. (Blake still walked to the coffeeshop.  I curled up next to the wood stove with a steaming mug of Starbucks Instant Caramel and prayed he wouldn’t freeze to the sidewalk).

Blake, with Rich and Anna, who is expecting in February.  Rich and Anna.  The three - soon to be four - of them also share the house with two single ladies - one upstairs, one in the basement apartment.  Blake has the only bedroom on the main level of the house, and they all share the two living rooms and one kitchen.  Right now it works - it will be interesting to see how that changes when a new baby is introduced into the mix.

Blake, with Rich and Anna who are expecting a baby in February. The three – soon to be four – of them also share the house with two single ladies – one upstairs, one in the basement apartment. Blake has the only bedroom on the main level of the house, and they all share the two living rooms and one kitchen. Oh – that’s Lucy and Zander finishing up the full house.

Blake is trying to make sure that when Anna goes into labor Rich is HOME.  He says he knows you're supposed to have hot towels and ice chips ready - but are the ice chips for him or the mom?  Oh, Lord - please let Rich be home.  Oh - that's Lucy and Zander finishing up the full house.

Blake is trying to make sure that when Anna goes into labor Rich is HOME. He says he knows you’re supposed to have hot towels and ice chips ready – but are the ice chips for him or the mom? Dear Lord – please let Rich be home.

Loved, loved, loved the house.  All the front part on the main level is original except parts of the kitchen has been upgraded . . .

Loved, loved, loved the house. All the front part on the main level is original, except parts of the kitchen have been upgraded – like some of the cabinets . . .

like the cabinets - and parts left alone - like the area around the sink.

. . . and parts left alone – like the area around the sink.  A new section, including a second living room and a second floor had recently been added to the back of the house, making it quite large and roomy.

Overall, it was a cozy house in a great area of Ft. Collins, and I’m so happy he is now where he originally wanted to find a place.

It snowed off and on all day Friday, my first full day there, but I was on a mission, so we sloshed around in the snow and cold all day (highs in the 20’s).  Blake had more patience than any Mom should expect from a son (or woman should expect from a man), but after about seven hours and visiting at least six stores (and finally returning to the first one), he was ready to call it quits for the year in the shopping category.  He did seem very pleased with the results though!

Blake wanted to take me to Estes Park, and having spent the entire day shopping on Friday, that only left us Saturday.  When we left the house, Blake’s car thermometer read -3, and where were we headed?  Into the mountains!

fffffff

When you drive north to Ft. Collins from the Denver airport, you’re looking out over flat, brown land in the wintertime.  All it takes is a sharp turn west though to see the Rocky Mountains, and that’s where we were headed.

Even Blake was amazed at how little snow there was except in the higher elevations.  When Ted and I were there last year around this same time, we drove into the Rockies in the middle of a blizzard, and snow covered the ground even in the foothills.

Even Blake was amazed at how little snow there was except in the higher elevations. When Ted and I were there last year around this same time, we drove into the Rockies in the middle of a blizzard, and snow covered the ground even in the foothills.  Snow had been here earlier, and the temps were so cold that it hadn’t all melted, but still . . . very little snow.

The Stanley Hotel.

The Stanley Hotel.

The Stanley Hotel is a 140-room hotel in Estes Park.  It opened in 1909, catering to the rich and famous including RMS Titanic survivor Margaret Brown, John Philip Sousa, Theodore Roosevelt and a variety of Hollywood personalities . . . including horror novelist Stephan King.

Have you figured out where I’m going with this?

King’s stay at The Stanley inspired him to write The Shining, and parts of the mini-series version of The Shining were filmed there, although Stanley Kubrick’s cinematic version was filmed at the Timberline Lodge in Oregon and at Elstree Studios in England.  The Stanley shows the uncut R-rated version of Kubrick’s The Shining on a continuous loop on Channel 42 on guest room televisions.

Nope – don’t want to stay here – even in the summer.

b9

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park is a sweet little Western town and is the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park.  Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the U.S., runs from Estes Park westward through Rocky Mountain National Park over the continental divide.

It was walking down these streets I first noticed that it was a little harder to breathe.  I guess at over 7500 feet, that is understandable.

MacDonald Book Shop

Our first stop – MacDonald Book Shop.  Blake and I share a love of bookstores!

fgfggg

Next stop – Lonigans Irish Pub, where I had a bowl of hot and spicy Buffalo Chili and home-made bread.  Not only was it yummy, but it did a nice job of warming up my insides!

Running behind Lonigans is the Big Thompson River, which was frozen solid.

Running behind Lonigans was the Big Thompson River, which was frozen solid.

Can’t say that we spent a lot of time shopping in Estes Park (the last thing on Blake’s mind).  We looked at books, ate, and tracked down some cookies for dessert – then we started further up into the Rockies.

 

b12

“More and more people are discovering a desire for the mountains, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction – so easy to lapse into – that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.”
― Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit

b13

You really - really - feel very, very small in this part of the country.

You really – really – feel very, very small in this part of the country.

Just outside Estes Park, on the way back to Ft. Collins, Blake suddenly slammed on brakes and said, "Whoa!  Did you see that?"  We backed up in time to watch two grown elks grazing in someone's backyard!

Just outside Estes Park, on the way back to Ft. Collins, Blake suddenly slammed on brakes and said, “Whoa! Did you see that?” We backed up in time to watch two grown elks grazing in someone’s backyard!

We ate dinner Saturday night downtown, where Ft. Collins fills every tree with glittering white lights and leaves them sparkling all winter.

We ate dinner Saturday night downtown, where every tree is filled with glittering white lights that sparkle all winter.

There's really nothing about Ft. Collins that I don't love . . . .

There’s really nothing about Ft. Collins that I don’t love . . . .

. . . . it's

. . . . except it’s just too far from Georgia and Michigan!

It was a wonderful trip, and after two winter visits, I think I’d love to see Ft. Collins – and Colorado – during the summer.  But hey – I’ll go anytime I’m invited, Blake.  Hint, hint, hint.

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Responses

  1. Darn, I just wrote my comment, hit a button and whoosh, it was gone lol. Anyway, I was saying that I love the pictures of the mountains and I love the trees with all the lights. What fun! I remember your trip last year and yes there was alot more snow then now, but Im sure spending time with Blake was alot more fun they any snow 😉

  2. Beautiful pictures and great times together!

  3. Looks like you had a wonderful visit with Blake. Beautiful pictures! I love the idea of white lights sparkling all winter long. Where was Ted?

    • Ted stayed home to babysit Bear and Maddie. A shopping trip excited him ALMOST as much as it did Blake :).

  4. I love the pictures. Maybe you and Ted should rent a camper and take Maddie and Bear out to Colorado in summer and then all of you could camp in the Rockies. Call your blog “On the Road with Brenda and Ted (and Maddie and Bear as well)”

    • Oh, Ted could give us history of the areas that your visiting. I loved the information that he gave on the rafting trip.

      Maddie and Bear could tell us of the animals that they see.

    • Judi – that sounds like a great idea . . . . don’t see it happening, but it’s a great idea :)!

  5. Adding Ft.Collins to the must see list based on these beautiful photos. I’m totally with you on the ‘no way I’m staying at the Stanley Hotel’ camp. Read the book, saw the movie, and Idon’t think I could even go in the door.

  6. Oh, if that’s the little bookstore that’s partly a log cabin, I remember it. We loved it! Lovely people working there, so helpful and interesting. Your mountain shots show such depth – better than most any I’ve ever seen. Beautiful job, Brenda! Loved the twinkly lights, too, almost as much as your lovely smiles!

  7. I’m so glad Blake was able to find a place in Ft. Collins. What a beautiful place. Your camera does an excellent job. It was nice you could go for a visit. Beautiful country.


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