Last week, I hopped on a plane and headed west (and up) to Estes Park, Colorado, where I met up with some of my favorite people for a vacation at 7,500 feet. We flew into Denver, and after a few hours touring the city and grabbing a celebratory dinner for my friend’s birthday, we packed up the car, picked up the stragglers at the airport and headed for the hills.
I’d only been to Colorado once before, on a ski trip to Breckenridge when I was in college. Autumn in the Rocky Mountains is completely different (without, you know, many feet of snow), but with cooler temperatures that were certainly welcome after the summer we’ve had here in the South. Leaves were changing, snow-capped mountains were visible and fires and hot tubs were welcome additions to the chilly mountain evenings.
In between the hours devoted to wine consumption, my friends and I hiked in the Rocky Mountain National Park, toured the breweries of Fort Collins and hit up the tourist traps of Estes Park.
There are a ton of breweries in Colorado, and we definitely attempted to take advantage of that (although I’m pretty sure we only made it to three). We were able to sample the beers of Fort Collins Brewery, Odell Brewing Co. and New Belgium, which was the largest of our visit and offered a long, beer-filled tour for free.
After our day of beer drinking, we took a lazy(ish) day, going for brunch at an old inn that looked straight out of a movie, complete with a room filled with thousands of keys left by visitors over the years.
We went on a “walk” after brunch (that turned out to be more of a hike) and I quickly realized my choice of hiking apparel was a bit inappropriate. Probably amusing for the locals (who I’m sure we amused further later that evening with our foray into Estes Park karaoke).
We did go on an actual hike at some point, up into the National Park and past three lakes. I skipped the mini skirt for that one. I have to say though, believe the hype about the Rocky Mountains. John Denver wasn’t croonin’ for nothin’.