It was Dave’s birthday a few weeks ago. We did lots of celebrating that week including dinner dates at breweries, cheesecake for dessert (his favorite) and a weekend trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. We started this new tradition that whenever it’s one of our birthdays, we do a little weekend getaway somewhere in Colorado. There are tons of cool places to explore and a birthday is a wonderful excuse to get out there find somewhere new!
We left on a Saturday morning and to be honest, we kind of had a late start. We slept in, dropped the dog off at the sitters, then walked around the farmers market for some coffee and pastries and finally hit the road. It’s crazy to me that RMNP is only an hour drive from where we live. It’s SO close and SO beautiful and I just feel spoiled and blessed to have that much nature right outside our door. The photos really don’t do it justice.
When we got to Estes Park (the town that enters into RMNP) we stopped at the grocery store to get picnic food, some water and then drove into the park. We got a national park pass for the year so we were able to skip the line to get in. Doesn’t it feel sooo satisfying when you can skip lines like that? ;)
We drove around a small part of park and stopped at some of the scenic sights but then wanted to go hiking. We found a trail off the side of the road and decided to try it out! We literally saw maybe 30 or 40 elk/deer and only 4 humans on the trail. It’s crazy to think that when you’re out there in the wilderness, humans are really the minority and it makes you realize how many other animals call this place home, too. I’m not going lie, seeing that few people on the trail did creep me out a bit, but at the same time it was really cool to be so isolated.
At around 5:30 we decided to take a break to enjoy our picnic. We snacked on olives, salami and cheese sandwiches and apricots. It was so yummy and peaceful and tasted so good after hiking for a few hours. As we were sat there eating, we saw a deer sprint from our right side to our left side. It looked like it was running away from something. It was all alone and it seemed strange that it was by itself. All the other deer we had seen on our hike were in herds. Dave looked over to the right and said, “Mel, pick up your things. We have to go!” I looked over and all I could see was something tan, thick and lower to the ground. Mountain lion, perhaps? We didn’t care to find out so we fast walked up the hill and as they say, made noise to let the mountain lion (or whatever it was) know that we were there. My heart was in my throat, it was so scary. I didn’t even want to make noise because I was scared but the only thing that would come out of my mouth in that moment of panic was the Michigan theme song. Haha! So I started singing “Hail to the Victors!” and we finally were far enough away and made it safely back to the car. Phew! I think this made us realize we need to be more prepared next time we’re hiking in remote areas.
After leaving the park we went to go check into our hotel. We found this cute little apartment style cabin, tucked in a canyon, right along a river and only about 5 minutes from downtown Estes Park. It was perfect for a little getaway. Our apartment had a fireplace, a kitchen, an outdoor patio and some big lawn chairs right next to the river. We quickly dropped off our stuff then went into town for some window shopping, dinner at this delicious Himalayan restaurant and later, ice cream.
It was such a fun Saturday and this post is a fun way to look back and remember the time we had celebrating my birthday boy! I can’t wait to share the hikes we did on Sunday since they were seriously gorgeous. I took so many pictures that day, so I decided it would be better to split it up between our Saturday and Sunday hikes since I didn’t want to give you a photo overload! :)