Holidays, 2015

Holidays, 2015
A Winter Scene - red door, a dusting of snow, and a vintage bicycle

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday Drive to Estes Park

We are very fortunate to live just a little over an hour from Estes Park.  Estes Park is the closest we have to doesn't have cows with bells around their necks, nor does it have enormous farms with villages using vintage scythes to cut the hay, but it does have the grandeur of enormous mountains with jagged peaks, delicate wildflowers, and rather charming mountain goats!  It also has something very unique: herds upon herds of elk.  There are also deer, antelope, moose, mountain lion, and other creatures, but elk roam free throughout the town.  They are in the parking lots of the shops, they walk up to the drive-up window of the bank teller, and they eat the lawns and plants of everyone who lives there.  In our search for 'what to do next,' there is also, 'where do we do it?'  Estes Park is on the list because of its close proximity to family and that it does have a draw of tourists from around the world to take in its beauty and to hike and camp in Rocky Mountain National Park.  This is also its downfall, by the way.  Crowds of people in the summertime.....
I love reading the blogs of others who live in places other than Colorado because I can sit in my jammies or jeans and be taken there through the eyes of dear friends who lovingly capture the beauty of their homes, their shops, their villages, and their surroundings.  Thank you for that....I'm inspired each and every day!
The road to Estes Park---you can see the Rocky Mountains up ahead
Once we got up there, it was quite a surprise that there wasn't much snow, but it wasn't a surprise to see the elk!! Here's a herd grazing on some local you can see, there is little snow at this elevation of more than 9,000 ft.
still easy to graze when there is not much snow on the ground
There are also several gorgeous lakes in Estes Park....and it's a haven for fishermen from around the world.
This is a great place for picnics, walks, and family outings
The sun came out from time to time, but the day was filled with intermittent bursts of snow.  The highest peaks are lost in the cloudy blanket, but this particular view is magnificent.
Mary's Lake
The majority of the trees in the area are pines which have been impacted by a devasting pine beetle.  Some parts of Montana, Wyoming, California, Nevada, and Colorado have been completely wiped out of their pines....which then leads to fire, always a fear in the mountain towns.
The vistas are different in every direction
The trees in the area are mostly aspen.  Colorado is known for its white aspen trees with its almond shaped leaves which are brilliant gold/yellow in the fall.  Below, this grove of aspens serves as cover and the bark as food for the deer and elk in the area.
the black marks are where elk have eaten the bark

I took this right out the car front window

I wanted you to be able to see how unafraid the elk are.  Here, a few walk through neighborhoods and graze on the common areas so close to the humans who hunt them.

this young male notices me and 'poses' for the picture!

a bit of a snow burst!

This family had two Bernese Mountain favorite breed and what my beloved Moose was!!
How I miss that boy!!

you can see how the village of Estes Park sits at the base of these mountains all around it

The famous Stanley Hotel....made more famous in Stephen King's The Shining
The Stanley Hotel opened on July 4, 1909, built by Mr. Stanley who is famous for 'the Stanley Steamer'
Many famous people have stayed here, from John Philip Sousa, to the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and Theodore Roosevelt.  Mr. Stanley suffered from tuberculosis and his doctor had advised him to spend summers in the mountains.  His health had improved so much that he decided to build a home, then a lodge....and so on and so on.  They had lived in Maine and his wife wanted a home like the one she had left back East.... thus, the 138 room Georgian style hotel was fashioned to please here.  It stands today on the National Register of Historic Places and many many weddings are still held there today.  My youngest daughter's wedding was in Estes Park at a different location, just up the road from the Stanley.  It is definitely worth a visit!!
a snowy road in the mountains

This big guy is just keeping a watch on me, but doesn't seem to care!

                                                                                     Well, if you'd like to see a video I made of a REALLY CLOSE ELK....honestly, I could have reached out the car window and touched here:
Have a great week everyone!!!!  I need some positive energy my way to help me in my decisions!!  xx


  1. How incredibly beautiful...Now THAT'S a weekend! Sending happy vibes your way!

  2. I LOVE this post Joann!! Real Elk! They're ike fairytale animals here in the UK, only seen in the pages of books. To see them up close (& the beautiful Rockies) is magical. It looks so cooold but so beautiful. I'd love to stay at Mr Stanley's one day (if Ms Joann isn't taking guests...:o) Thank you again for this glimpse of a world so different, yet so similar, to my own xoxo Mozart's Girl

  3. Wow Joann, what a beautiful place Estes Park is! It must be so nice to simply take a drive there and see the elk in their natural habitat roaming free. I have seen elk before, but only at our zoos. I can imagine how busy it must get there in the summer! Thanks for sharing your drive with us! Hope you have a great week too, sending you lots of positive vibes your way!

    Rosinda xoxo

  4. Oh, wow, Joann!! The pictures and video of the elk are stunningly beautiful!! Did you have any trouble being out of breath at 9,000'? I think I have only been up to 8,000 and did get winded. This was such a great journey and I would dearly love to see it in person!!! Love and hugs, Sherry

  5. Have I told you before that I love comments? I do!!!! Thank you so much and for looking @ video, too- better to see elk move than be still, right? No 'winding' at elevation- I've lived above 5,000 ft since '94. I'm so happy you liked the snowy elk!!


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