Tag Archives: estes park

The Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountain National Park

My dad and I had us some adventures yesterday!!

But first and foremost, after making it through a blizzard the day before, we were blessed with an absolute gorgeous morning here in Longmont Colorado!

My Thursday actually started with me getting woken up by one whiny and pathetic Russian bear dog. He wanted to go outside to go potty. But he also wanted to play in the snow because it’s like, his most favorite thing ever! But the problem with that is after a while he’ll just lay down in the snow and refuse to move. And trust me it hard to get a stubborn, 146 pound dog to move. ๐Ÿ™„ Hahaha that being said, we still had a nice little walk on Thursday morning.

Mr. whiny pants, Niko begging to be taken outside right after we had gotten back in. ๐Ÿ˜‚

So after Niko had gotten walked 3 times, first by me, then by my dad, and finally by my brother, we began to make plans for the day. My dad basically runs several FedEx terminals and drives semi trucks (even though he’s not really supposed to because he’s supposed to be running the whole operation, but they currently don’t have enough drivers) and he had several things for my brother to do on Thursday. After giving him all of his assignments and sending him on his way, we decided we were going to drive to Estes Park and go check out the Stanley Hotel!

So no one I know personally has ever actually stayed at the Stanley Hotel before (although I’d totally like to one day!) I’ve actually been there a few times!

You see, the Stanley Hotel was Stephen King’s inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. And Stephen King has been my all time favorite author since I was in 7th grade. So I just think it’s super duper cool to go there and look around outside a little bit. ๐Ÿ˜‚

This time around my dad has me bring my copy of The Shining and we got some pretty neat pictures!

I got my butt very wet sitting on those steps. ๐Ÿ˜‚

So yeah, that was fun! After that we decided we might as well go mess around in the Rocky Mountain State Park while we were there. By first my dad took me to a discount outdoors wear store because I was not prepared for winter. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I came to Colorado ready for spring, but boy was I wrong! Up until then I had been borrowing one of my brother’s coats (hence the camo. Hahaha that’s not really my thing) and wearing on thoroughly soaked pair of retired running shoes. So I got me a pair of discounted, waterproof hiking boot and a super nice North Face coat for over 50% off. Both of these are men’s items because in weird and prefer men’s coats/hoodies and the selection of women’s hiking boots was kinda sad. But either way, after that I was actually prepared to spend some time in Rocky Mountain National Park.

I have been into Rocky Mountain National Park before, but not very far. So this was a super fun experience! We didn’t really hike that much because it was cold, we were ill prepared, and my dad had to work that night, but we drove around for a while and would get out and walk around some cool places.

First we stopped at Sheep Lakes, which ironically enough, my dad (who’s been there often) has never seen any sheep there. And today was no exception. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Then we drove around for a while, admiring how pretty everything looked covered in snow. We saw lots of mule deer and elk, and of course we had to stop to observe them and take pictures! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This guy got super close to the van when we stopped on the side of the road. That was neat!

Then my dad decided he wanted to go to Bear Lake because he had only been there once and obviously I had never been there before, so we continued on with our journey through the park.

We stopped a few more times on our way there because everything looked super pretty covered in snow, so it was kinda hard not to. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But by the time we finally made it it was actually kinda snowing and the wind was blowing super hard! We hiked a short ways from the parking lot to the lake itself which was kinda interesting because the snow drifts were pretty high! It was a lot of fun though!

Bear Lake was frozen, covered in snow, and absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Unfortunately pictures will never be able to do it justice. The wind was cold and blowing snow directly into our faces which was painful. But the way it was swirling in the air was beautiful.

We didn’t stay there long. Like I said, the snow pelting our faces was painful. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But we both think we need to come back in the summer and actually hike around Bear Lake when we’re actually prepared for it.

After our short adventure at Bear Lake we started making our way out of the park. But of course we ended up stopping a few more times. Hahaha I sure put my new hiking boots to good use today! ๐Ÿ˜‰

After we finally made our way out of Estes Park and back home my dad heated up the Keto version of broccoli and cheddar soup that he had made the day before. At that point it was the best thing I had ever eaten. Probably because I didn’t really eat much before that. ๐Ÿ˜‚

And that was the end of our adventuring on Thursday. We were both really tired after we ate so I showered and then we both ended up taking naps. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But obviously my dad needed to since he had to work that night.

So since my dad is doing the whole Keto thing there are NO carbs aside from some veggies in his apartment, and that’s super boring. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I knew he had been doing the Keto thing though, so I had brought a whole big thing of Cheerios with me. Still not super fun, but I NEED my carbs man, and I’ll take them were I can get them. ๐Ÿ˜‚

But once my brother got back from everything he had to do today he order us a bunch of carb-y deliciousness. He’s not into Keto either, but neither of us felt like going to the store. So we had the carbs brought to us. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I swear after like, a day of eating very few carbs, this personal pizza was the best thing I’ve ever eaten! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ• Hahaha I paced myself though and only ate half of it and saved the other half for today. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, that just about covers Thursday! I don’t think we’re going to be doing anything as exciting today, but tomorrow my dad and I are driving to Fruita, CO for our race on Sunday! We’re going to be staying at one of his driver’s houses that night (which was super cool of him to let us stay with them!), and we might do some hiking while we’re there. The day before our race. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Probably not the best idea, but we aren’t going for any world records at this trail race anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But alrighty! That’s all for now!

Happy Friday!

~Ashley ๐Ÿ—ป๐ŸŒฒโ„๏ธ๐Ÿ˜Š

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My Weekend In Colorado

I know I’ve already talked a little bit about my adventures in Colorado over the weekend with my family (here, here, and here ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), but they were kinda short, sweet, and to the point, since I was so busy and pretty exhausted at the end of everyday. So I thought I’d take some time today to write down in detail what went down while I was there. ๐Ÿ™‚

So this whole thing kinda started a week or so before the actual trip. My mom texted me, telling me that my brother and his friend would be stopping at my house on the 16th of February, because they were going to her apartment in Colorado. Obviously I told her that was fine. The next day she texted me again, asking me if maybe I could come with them. At the time I wasn’t sure if I could, since Luke and I had plans to start working on the garden over the weekend. So I told her maybe next time.

Over the next few days Luke spent a lot of time telling me that I should go visit my family and that he was capable of taking care of himself for a few days. So on Thursday before my brother and his friend started their drive from Illinois to Kansas, I asked if they minded if I hitched a ride with them, but not to tell our mom or dad. They said they didn’t care and that they wouldn’t, so I started getting everything ready for our trip.

They got to my house at around 7 pm on Thursday. We kinda hung out for a while and watched some YouTube series that they like, while Luke and his brother went to play pool for a little bit. When they got home from the bar they challenged us to darts. I already knew I was pretty good at darts, but we learned that my brother is also a natural dart player. It must run in the family haha. So I played/watched a few games, then went to bed around 11 pm, warning my brother and his friend that I’d be waking them up around 7 in the morning.

Unfortunately my plan to go to bed at a decent time didn’t exactly work out well. I ended up laying in bed unable to fall asleep until around 12:30. Apparently the boys didn’t get to bed until 1:30, but we were all up and moving at 7 am., then on the road by around 7:20. ๐Ÿ™‚

The drive from my house in Kansas to my parents’ apartment in Colorado is about 10 hours long (including stops for gas/snacks/bathroom breaks). Oh man, that is a brutal car ride! Especially since western Kansas/eastern Colorado isn’t exactly the most exciting place, as far as landscapes go. I am super impressed with my brother though! He drove the whole way there! Which probably sucked, because we were riding in my mom’s car, and it’s not exactly the most comfortable car to drive for long periods of time. Once I had to drive it for 4 hours and my hips started to hurt, my feet were falling asleep, and I basically wanted to die haha. But my brother did it for 10 hours without complaining once! Maybe it’s because he’s 18 and stubborn haha. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Luckily my brother and his friend are pretty cool, so we spent a lot of time joking around and showing each other amusing memes and other funny stuff from the internet. I also spent some time texting both of my sisters. Mostly to tell them not to tell my mom and dad that I was coming with my brother and his friend, but I was also making plans to visit my sister who lives about 2 hours away from my parents. ย But unfortunately on a 10 hour car ride there is still a lot of quite time, and some of the miles just drug on and on and on…

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Weย finallyย made it to my mom and dad’s apartment around 4 pm (I think, I don’t remember exactly) Colorado time. While we were walking up the stairs of the apartment building I told the boys to be really quite and show me which apartment was my mom and dads, because they still had no clue that I was coming. After the pointed me to the right door, I started knocking in the most obnoxious way ever. My mom answered the door looking super duper confused, because my brother and his friend would have just walked in, and she wasn’t expecting anyone else. But once she realized it was me, she literally screamed and started hugging me. Their dog was also super excited to see me, which was kinda weird because he really hasn’t spent any significant amount of time with me, but whatever, I’d rather a 130 pound dog be excited to see me instead of being mad that I was in his territory haha.

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Anyway, once all of the excitement died down we kinda sorta started making plans on what we were going to do the next day, since my brother and I both wanted to leave on Sunday. Then my dad had to go to work, and my mom took us out for dinner and some shopping. Not gonna lie, I wasn’t all too excited to be out and about in the busy city that they live in, but I guess it wasn’tย thatย bad. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The restaurant that we ate dinner at was really good! My dad told me I needed to get some kind of Irish burger that they had (I don’t remember what he called it) but after eating a bunch of junk food in the car all day I was really craving some veggies, so I got a Greek salad instead.

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After we ate, we went to a really awesome used book store! My mom bought me two Stephen King books for $4. How freaking neat is that?! Then my mom wanted to show me this candy shop she really likes. We sent a little bit of time wandering around because she couldn’t remember exactly where it was, but we eventually found it. The candy shop was pretty exciting! They had all sorts of novelty gifts and fun gummies. My mom got me a gummy pig! Not gonna lie, it wasn’t the best gummy I’ve ever had, but it was cute. ๐Ÿ™‚

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After our shopping adventure we headed back to the apartment. My mom and I went to walk around the trail that is near their apartment, while my brother and his friend played video games. They sure missed out on a really beautiful evening! The trail went around a lake and you could see the mountains in the distance. That was much more my style! We didn’t make it all the way around the lake because Niko was getting tired and crabby (I’m not kidding, that dog gets tired fast!), but it was still a nice little walk. And I’m not gonna lie, I’m kinda glad we didn’t go the full 3.5 miles around the lake. At that point the elevation change was really starting to kick my ass!

After our walk I took a quick shower, then went grocery shopping with my mom.ย First we went to a farm and home supply store for dog food (I canโ€™t for the life of me remember the name on it) while we were there she noticed the holes in my leggings so she found and bought me a new pair. Haha sheโ€™s just awesome like that. Then we went to walmart to get food for the next day, and some other random stuff that she needed. It seems like every time Iโ€™m with my mom we somehow end up going to walmartโ€ฆWhatever. After that my mom and I painted for a little bit while my brother’s friend showed us some more memes, then we finally went to bed! I guess Niko was still super excited that I was there, so he kept licking my face to wake me up. At around 2 am I took him outside, but he didn’t want to pee, he just wanted to hang out outside…So I had to drag his 130 pound ass up the stairs and back inside. He finally left me alone after that, but it really sucked that I didn’t get much sleep that night. Especially since my dad woke me up at 6:45 on Saturday morning.

Waking up that early after a really bad night of sleep really sucked, but in the end it was totally worth it! My dad ended up taking me and my brother’s friend to hike up Rabbit Mountain. It took us about 2 and a half hours to climb to the very top (it was about a mile up and a mile down), but we stopped a lot to take pictures, admire the scenery, and take one short snack break. Plus we took Niko with us, and like I said before, he gets really tired really fast, so several times he had to sit down and take breaks haha. I didn’t mind though, the elevation was still bothering me a little bit, but not as much as it had the day before.

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I think hiking up Rabbit Mountain was my favorite part of the trip. It was so much fun! Plus I’ve been dying to see more of Colorado because it’s such a beautiful place, and I had never been to Rabbit Mountain before. I wish we could have done more hiking, but my dad was up working the whole night before, so he needed to get back home and sleep. (The rest of my photos from Rabbit Mountain are here, if you’re interested. ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

By the time we got back to the apartment, my sister was waiting there with her 7 month old German Shepherded, Moose, and 3-year-old “Alaskan Husky”, Tidus (he’s part Husky and part Greyhound. Apparently people who are into dog sled races really like that combination of breeds. Oh and he’s actually from Alaska, which is neat). She and my mom thought I would really enjoy Estes Park, so they took me there while my dad slept and I’m not entirely sure what my brother and his friend did haha.

So, we didn’t really spend a lot of time there because all of the people were making Moose really nervous and he kept barking at everyone. But we did walk around for a little bit and I got to see the Stanley Hotel, which is where Stephen King wrote The Shining! That was really awesome! Some day I’d really like to stay there and explore a little more, but I’m really glad I got to see it. Even in the small amount of time that we spent there I could see where he got some ideas for The Shining, so that was pretty neat. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Before we left my mom and I got lunch at a little diner type thing. They had a mac and cheese sandwich on the menu, so obviously I had to try that! It was sooooo good!!! Best food decision I’ve ever made. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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After we got our food we drove back to my mom and dad’s apartment, walked Niko, Tidus, and Moose around for a little bit, then I went home with my sister. Her house is two hours away from my mom and dad’s and we had to drive through Denver to get there, but it actually wasn’t too bad of a drive. She was worried about traffic going through Denver, but it really never got too bad.

My sister’s husband is in the army (and was just recently deployed to Poland) so they live on a military base. They actually lived in Alaska for 3 years before moving to Colorado last year, so I was super excited to see my sister’s house, since I never had a chance to visit her in Alaska. Plus it was kind interesting to get a little peek into how the military and their families live.

Anyway, after we got to her house we let her dogs out, ate a quick snack, then went to walmart because she needed to get some groceries. Haha I don’t know what it is about my family, but it seems like every time any of us get together, we end up at a walmart…After she got what she needed we hung out and her house for a while, just catching up and watching Futurama. Later in the evening she wanted to get some Sushi, so we went to King Super to get some. Unfortunately I can’t eat fish anymore, so I got some Halo Top ice cream instead. ๐Ÿ˜‰ After that we spent the rest of the night just hanging out and playing with her dogs. It was nice.

So staying at her house was a great decision! All of her pets are really well-behaved and quite, so they actually let me sleep that night haha. And the next morning when she let her dogs out of her bedroom, Moose saw me sitting on the couch and jumped right up into my lap. Apparently he really likes me.

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Me, Moose, and Tidus.

So like I mentioned before, my brother and I wanted to leave on Sunday, but my dad was off work and he wanted to take me to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo the feed the giraffes. So since that’s super close to my sister’s house, they drove there, and then my sister drove us all to the zoo.

The first thing we did was feed the giraffes like my dad wanted to. I gotta admit, that was really neat! No zoo that I’ve been to have anything like that (although the Kansas City zoo is supposedly going to build something similar in the next 5 ish years).

When we were done making friends with the giraffes we walked around for a while, just looking at all the animals. Then we went back to the car, made some sandwiches with the food that we’d brought, then went back into the zoo and saw everything else that we wanted to see. Most importantly; the tiger because they are my sister’s favorite, the elephants because they’re neat, and the wolves because my dad and I both think they are really awesome! Plus no other zoo I’ve been too has wolves, but unfortunately they weren’t out when we went to them. Apparently the female was in heat so they were being very elusive. Ah well, it was still a fun adventure!

We got back to my sister’s house from the zoo around 3 pm. I grabbed all my stuff from her house, said goodbye, then my mom, dad, and I drove 2 hours back to their apartment. Once we got their I showered, ate dinner, packed all of my stuff into my mom’s car, and tried to take a quick nap, because my brother wanted to leave at midnight. The whole napping thing was unsuccessful, so I ended up watching a movie with my mom and dad. After the movie my dad went to bed for the night and my mom went with him to try to nap before we left. So I was left in the living room with Niko.

We just kinda hung out for a while, until he started barking out the open sliding glass door at a dog that was being walked downstairs. I guess that woke my brother up, because not long after that he and his friend packed their stuff into the car, then went to get gas. A few minutes later my mom got up and started making food for the trip, so that we wouldn’t have to buy any. 10 minutes later my brother and his friend were back, so we packed up the car, my dad got up to tell us all goodbye, and then we were on the road by 11:30 pm.

The ride back to Kansas was a little bit better than the ride there. Probably because I tried to sleep for a good majority of it. I never actually fell into a deep sleep though, and I got up about every hour, but I can’t even complain about that, because yet again, my brother drove the whole time. Around the time we had two hours left in the car the sun was up and everyone in the car was awake for good. Luckily those last two hours seemed to fly by and before I knew it we were pulling into my drive way.

The original plan was for my mom, brother, and his friend to stay and nap at my house for a while, but after I had made my brother lunch he wanted to get back on the road again and finish the last 4 hours of the drive they had, so that’s what they did. 4 hours after they left I got a text from my mom saying they had made it home. I don’t know how my brother drove 14 hours on a very small amount of sleep, but he did it! And with no “close calls” or “almost accidents” either. I am very much impressed.

There! I feel like that’s a much better summary of what went down in Colorado, compared to the other super short posts that I wrote about it while I was actually there. I am officially satisfied and I hope I didn’t bore you too much. Haha this post ended up beingย a lot longer than I thought it was going to be!

Until next time!

~Ashley

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