July 2020 – “Rocky Mountain High”

New state and a John Denver ear worm…

We’d planned to come to Colorado last May and drove north from New Mexico. COVID-19 appeared to be really prevalent in Colorado back then so  just a few miles south of the border we turned sharp right and into Oklahoma.

Now we’re back, entering from the north with eyes on the pandemic spread.

The weather has been so hot for the past couple of weeks, and Denver is in the nineties, so no hope of boondocking, it’ll be RV parks and State Parks for a while with at least electric hook-ups. Funny, everyone warned us, especially Coloradans, it can snow even in June, so we thought July should be safe. They neglected to tell us that 90-100 degree temperatures are not uncommon in July and August.

We set up camp at the Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood CO, a beautiful park and very popular given the array of activities available. A couple of lakes, one for fishing the other for watercraft, a paddle board competition was going on at the weekend. There were stables where the horses were saddled up every morning ready for the stream of riders. There was a large practice range for archery enthusiasts, and bike trails winding in every directions. Every activity was popular, this is a very active community.

We chose to stay in this area due to its proximity to Red Rocks, Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park.

First stop Red Rocks, 5 miles down the road. We’ve heard so much music recorded from concerts here, we couldn’t wait to take a look and it didn’t disappoint.

 

 

 

 

 

What a wonderful venue for a concert, or a yoga class during our visit, at least it’s being utilized

No concerts, but a massive yoga class happening

 

 

 

 

Approaching Denver on a lovely clear day

The Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver has a large art collection both inside and out. This 40’ tall polymer-concrete sculpture in the form of a bear appears to be peering inside. The work is by Lawrence Argent (born in England) is called “I see what you mean”

The downtown area was so empty we could park anywhere. It was nice being in a major city again, well for Chris anyway, but weird with so few people about. This is probably a very busy intersection in normal times

This area also housed the Denver Art Museum and art schools and the vast university campus

We drove over to the Larimer Square area, the areas oldest block and now home to very upscale restaurants. This was lunchtime and only a handful of people around.

Some delicious ahi tuna,  hard to find this on the menu in most towns we’ve been in lately

 

The latest in souvenirs, better than buying a t-shirt.

The last time Chris was in Estes Park was 30+ years ago, and didn’t remember there being much here. So driving here on a Saturday didn’t seem to be anything to worry about with regard to crowds.

Oh how wrong can you be! Wall to wall people on the streets and restaurants jammed.

 

We did find somewhere to eat however, food trucks are very much our friends right now.

Not far down the road is the entrance to Rocky Mountain State Park so we drove over, only to find that they’ve limited the number of people allowed to enter and you have to book a spot in advance. So we decided to attack it from the west side at a future date and book a spot.

Our drive back brought us through several quaint towns, Raymond was one of those towns where just about everyone has a house on either side of the river.

 

 

Another town we passed on the way back was the Central City/Black Hawk National Historic District with a population of under 200 has seen a revitalization in recent years with the addition of a large casino.

We left Lakewood after a few days and drove west to Silverthorne and north for 45 minutes to the small town of Kremmling.

The Red Mountain RV park was very quiet as most of the residence were working  on road construction. Staying in Kremmling gave us the opportunity to visit Vail, Steamboat Springs and the surrounding beauty spots.

On the road to Vail we travelled through Dillon and the picturesque Dillon Reservoir

The ski slopes start to emerge as we pass Copper Mountain

 

Then onto Vail which, with all the hundreds of condos must be packed in the ski season. It was quite crowded in July with cyclists, hikers and golfers. It’s also the most expensive place to ski in North America

Another day trip, this time north to Steamboat Springs, which was originally a summer resort popular for its natural hot springs before becoming a premier ski town.

 

On the return to Kremmling we came over Rabbit Ears Pass, whose summit has the shape  of rabbit ears, hmmmm.

 

Just outside the town of Kremmling is Gore Canyon. We’d been here for a few days before we found it. There were two rafting outfits in town that were always full of people ready to go rafting, so we decided to find out where they were going.

It’s a relatively short canyon with the Colorado River running through it. It also hosts whitewater rafting tournaments with its class v rapids but there weren’t evident while we were there.

 

 

 

 

This was our chance to revisit Rocky Mountain National Park, and it was actually closer approaching from the west side. On the way we stopped at Grand Lake which has a quaint little village and a backdrop of the Rockies.

 

Finally with park pass in hand we were granted entry into this magnificent park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We only booked a week in Kremmling, that’s all we could get, as parks are really filling up. Time will tell as to why it’s becoming so difficult to find a spot, whether it’s school holidays, just that it’s August, or could it be that there are more people turning to this lifestyle. Time will tell, but we had to drive for 3 hours before we found another campground that we could fit into. That’s another problem will trying to camp in Colorado, many campgrounds are not conducive to a 40’ rig.
We have a week booked in Grand Junction, so we’ll see what happens after that.

1 thought on “July 2020 – “Rocky Mountain High”

  1. Steve, it looks like Chris and you are having a lot of fun. I to remember Estes as sleepy. i stayed in the Stanley Steamer hotel, and visited RMNP where a few hundred elk walked by moving down to the meadows.
    Stay safe and enjoy!

    Like

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