Friday, June 27, 2008

RiverSpruce cabin - great time in Estes Park!

We just got back from our two nights in Estes Park and had a really nice time. The River Spruce cabin was right on the Big Thompson River, which was running pretty high this time of year. We had our own fire pit, hot tub, and bench by the river - very nice!

The first night we decided to switch plans for dinner because we found out that the Dunraven Inn was a few minute walk. So we went there and enjoyed a very relaxing dinner. Yesterday we took a hike in the "Lumpy Ridge" area of Rocky Mountain National Park, which we'd never been to. It is actually a bit north and east of downtown Estes, and you don't even go through a park entrance station to get there. It was beautiful hike, fairly good uphill, and with great views of the town and Long's Peak. On the way up, we went by this privy, which upon investigating turns out to be solar powered! I looked it up online and found this:

"A SOLAR PRIVY that distills waste and doesn't have to be cleaned out has been invented by microbiologist William M. Tipton. Such outhouses will be used in the Rocky Mountain National Park's high country, where human waste was formerly removed (expensively) by helicopter."

Gem Lake was very picturesque and there were the requisite begging ground squirrels (and not very afraid of people, as you can see!). As we sat on the rocks eating lunch we were treated to a fun show by two young ravens. We had heard some pretty raucous squawking and then Marianne saw the parent bird feeding one of the younger ravens. Then as we ate, the two young birds were on the opposite shore, exploring chattering in raven talk, and generally just acting like inexperienced young kids! One would pick up a stick, kind of toss it, then squawk, and pick it up again. They were tugging at various plants - kind of looked like they were figuring out what might be edible and what not. Anyway, we watched them for 15-20 minutes and it was quite entertaining!

Last night we went to the Rock Inn and Mom had a 90 Schilling and I tried a Dan's Pale Ale from Oskar Blues brewery in Lyons, Colorado. I'd never heard of them, but this pale ale was judged very highly, and it was hoppy and good.

We're back home now, but feeling refreshed from some good mountain time, time by the river, hiking, and good food!

P.S. - I didn't hear or see the dusky flycatcher, so that will have to wait til another time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Retreat to Estes Park!

Marianne and I are headed up to Estes Park tomorrow for two nights, and we are looking forward to the break and mountain time. There are some fun things on the itinerary. Wednesday evening in Estes there is music in the park, and this week the "Zebra Marimba Band" will perform. Prior to that we may try out a place we've never been, The Wine and Cheese, which has lots of good wines to try along with platters of artisan bread and cheeses.

We want to take some hikes and two places we have never been are Gem Lake and Ouzel Falls. Both are not too difficult, but very nice hikes. I am hoping to add a bird to my list too! It is the dusky flycatcher, which has been described as "notoriously difficult to identify". It has to call or you have no chance to separate it from the Hammond's flycatcher.

We'll be staying at the Lochleven Cabin at a place called River Spruce. Within walking distance is the Rock Inn Tavern which has an open Bluegrass music jam session on Thursday evening.

So, I think we're up for a pretty fun few days! I'll have to post after and let you know how it was and if I spotted (and heard) the flycatcher!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Great Father's Day!

I had a really nice day today. Marianne and I went over to Grandma and Grandpas for a brunch at about 11:30 a.m.. The food was great and we had a nice visit. We got Grandpa some Scottish shortbread, a coupon for going out to play pool at Coopersmith's and a little bottle of Southern Comfort! He doesn't drink much anymore with all of his medications, but the other day he said he missed having a bit of Southern Comfort. So, Mom suggested we get him the little shooter bottle, and I think he'll enjoy a wee taste now and then!

In the afternoon, Mom and Quentin and I took Te Beagh for a walk by the Poudre, with the idea that maybe we could wade in with her and see if she wanted to swim a bit. She really likes the water but we haven't had a chance to see if she likes to swim. But the river was really cold, and running pretty high and strong, so we could only get her in up to her belly. So, maybe later this summer we'll try again. She does like the water, but we'll have to wait and see if she wants to swim!

Then we came home and Mom cooked up a delicious paella. Yummmmmyyyyy! And I went down into the wine cellar and found a 2 year old home made Spanish Rioja to go with it. So, we enjoyed a very nice meal together. And I got calls or cards from all the kids, so it was a super day! Being a father is such an important part of my life. And today was a great day.

P.S. - even Te Beagh knew that she should "bow" to me today!! (She has really learned the "Who's your boss?" trick).