I actually missed the flat roads of Illinois for once. How they drive these roads in the winter is crazy to me. My nephew said we have to come back in the winter for skiing and snowboarding. Yeah......right. Only if I could be transported to the resort on the mountain top and left there until it was time to be transported off. Basically I would need to be air lifted in and out or unconscious.
There was such a steep grade up and down those roads, between Denver and Keystone, that on the way to our resort going down, the brakes were smoking and we had to pull off and pour water on them.
Lions, Tigers, Bears and Sharks eat people.
We got back on the road, I looked up into the clouds, trying not to look at the road and what do I see? Maybe it's just me, but I see what looks like a friggin bear. I made Jen snap this picture. Does a bear poop in the clouds? Obviously in Colorado they do.....
RIVER RUN RESORT, KEYSTONE COLORADO
Once we got to our condos at about 9,300 feet, I just wanted to stay there. It was beautiful, picturesque. Condos had full kitchens and grills to save on food expenses, fire places, lots of room, great amenities. Lodges with pool tables, saunas, a pool, two hot tubs, a little village with shops, bars and restaurants. A gondola and a ski lift to the very top (12,400 feet) for lunch, hiking and snow tubing in the summer.
Our first scheduled adventure was White Water Rafting on the Colorado River on July 3rd. Below are pictures Jen snapped when I made Lorens stop the car 1/2 way down the mountain on our way there. We had to drive 14 miles down a gravel road with thousands of feet drop offs and no guard rails at times. I felt like I was on a 45 minute roller coaster ride again, falling, falling, falling. I was shaking and crying and I told them they could leave me there and come back for me after rafting, in 5 hours.
Lorens stopped at this wildlife viewing spot 1/2 way down the mountain and reminded me we were at a "wildlife viewing spot" in the middle of nowhere and there were probably wild animals everywhere. Possibly even bears. That worked. I got back in the car and we continued down.
It was sunny and HOT, about 90 degrees. I assumed, because there was no rain in Colorado lately, the river would be low and slow. Our guide told us the river water is melted snow from the mountain, it has nothing to do with the low rainfall so far this year. He said it was very cold and it was at it's highest level today that it had been all season. He said we WILL be going through some rapids.
SNOW TUBING ON THE 4TH OF JULY:
There was a nationwide heat wave except up on the mountain where we were. There was even snow at the very top and we decided to go snow tubing, it was the last week it was open. We got to the gondola (that I talked myself into going on, so that I could go tubing with my family).
You'll have to take the SKI LIFT up. "
your feet are dangling,
non-enclosed, SKI LIFT.
They had reservations and no time to argue with me.
I missed seeing them tubing but got up there in time for lunch with them at a nice outdoor restaurant on the mountain top. I had grilled salmon on a bed of greens topped with chutney sauce. It was delicious. They opted for the gourmet burgers with fresh fruit on the side. My sister, my niece and their friend Alice joined us at the top for lunch as well. I heard that the ride up and down was beautiful, I wouldn't know, my eyes were closed. But it was postcard perfect up there.
Me, Mike, Lorens & Jen
Later that afternoon we all went horseback riding through the mountains about 15 minutes away in Breckenridge, Colorado. The only part about the "trail ride through the mountains" I didn't like was, again, the mountains. Don't get me wrong, mountains are beautiful. I had never seen such natural beauty. It just felt like a roller coaster ride all over again.
Our nephew Tommy joined us at their condo too. He went with some of my sisters friends on a camping trip/hike up a 14,000 foot mountain so we didn't get to spend enough time with him. But when he was there there were billiard games at the lodge, long talks with his cousins and bonding time for all of them as well. We usually only see each other at Christmas so this was a great family vacation. We hope to save up for a family vacation with them every summer.
one evening in the condos.
Mike, Terri & Jen
One day, Mike, Terri and I hiked about 1-2 miles from our resort. That was another great adventure, walking through the woods, along streams, requiring no drive down the mountain. I loved it. But I was thinking bears would love it here too. So I asked Terri, "There's no chance of us seeing any bears is there?" She thought I meant I was hoping to find a place for some cold "beers" and said "yeah, I'm sure there's some up ahead somewhere." I was stammering, frozen, trying to remember how to form words and walk forward (which my legs refused to do after she said there's probably SOME bears up ahead, as in multiple bears). Then she realized what I meant and said no "bears" up ahead, only "beers". We were all laughing hysterically (mine was a hysterical laughter of relief).
Michael snapped this picture of a rainbow over our resort when we were on a hike after a sun shower. It stretched from one mountain to the other with our resort in the middle. You could see both sides of the rainbow. This picture doesn't do it justice. It was gorgeous.
the bad cut on my hand and the possibility of bears,
it's beautiful up there!
I would never think a bear would be in a tree above my head.
See, this is why I love Chicago, only squirrels in our trees.
We keep our Bears confined to Soldier Field.
They said he was tranquilized and moved
to a less populated part of the mountain.
He wasn't relocated to, like, Alaska?
(but it was a great vacation)