Wednesday, August 29, 2012

10 Sense Sensations of Estes Park, RMNP and CO

Nymph Lake
Since my last post, I've returned to the east coast. I feel it would be absurd not to post at least one more entry of my time in Estes, Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Lake Haiyaha
My mother visited and we went completed the Circle of Lakes: Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Lake Haiyaha, and Alberta Falls. Our favorite by far was Lake Haiyaha with the greens and blues melded together in the water. Little rock islands perched in mid-lake, where they had been deposited thousands of years ago by glaciers. Finally, remnants of the glacier and snow gripped the sides of barren rock faces which towered up to the sky in a dizzying spectacle of light.

Mother and I also visited the town of Estes Park, where the library caters to its locals and guests. The shops themselves are overpriced in the summer, even the Safeway. But with the nearest commercial store like Walmart 45 minutes away in Loveland, there is little other choice. Besides, the town itself has a romantic air. At night, little lamps light your way down the main street. The smell of waffle cones and fresh taffy float out into the street and music from the local summer club Kelli's vibrates the night air.

Each building in Estes Park is different in shape and structure though there are at least five ice cream/fudge/cookie shops on each block of the main street. Of my whole stay, I will list my favorite sense experiences:
Red Rocks

  1. Indian Village, Longs Peak Coffee House, MacDonald's Book Shop - Tourist-y but there are fine American Indian pieces in the back of the Village, never a finer atmosphere or vinyl record player in Longs Peak, and a traditional, small-town bookstore where resident authors sign books.
  2. Bull Elk walking around, Hummingbirds everywhere, and Bears--which feed on hummingbird feeders so watch out.
  3. Tram Ride - For those that struggle to hike to peaks, this is a great and cheap way to see the whole of Estes Park and the beginnings of the great Rocky Mountain National Park.
  4. Chocolate Shoppe - Expensive but sometimes gives away free fudge. Also has chocolate bacon.
  5. Any Buffalo Burger - Really, I couldn't find any one restaurant that I liked more than another which served the Bison burgers so have at it when you find one.
  6. Kelli's - A diverse club upstairs of a pizzeria. Toursits, locals, and international students would dance away the weekends there.
  7. RMNP - Of course, the mountains and hiking in the park is astounding. Before the Lakes, I did Twin Sisters and the feeling of being on top of the world, of seeing as far as the world is flat, is something I'll never forget. I wished I could have hiked Longs before I left.
  8. Donut Shop - Not located on main street, its one of Estes Park's best kept secrets. Donuts, of all kinds, which rival Krispy Kreme in taste.
  9. Red Rocks - Not in Estes Park but if you are to hear any concert it must be in this fantastic part of CO. It's worth the drive to see these giant red stones rising out of the earth into a natural ampitheater. I saw the Avett Brothers from the third row; warm air grazing my skin, smelling of pot, cigarettes/cigars, and alcohol, smelling of a real concert. Lights danced on the rocks and music surrounds you on all sides, filling you with the sound of the stars above.
  10. Trail Ridge Road - Speaking of stars, the last I must say is the stars. Trail Ridge is astounding in the daytime, but drive up at night as well. After we turned off the car, darkness filled every inch of life except when I tilted my head up. Thousands of millions of stars filled the sky, overlapping and twinkling. Everyone says it: The stars in the West are so different, so many more, so much more lively than in the East cities. Nothing is truer.

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