Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lunch & Hiking in Grand Lake

My Dad has stayed in very close contact with many of his friends from High School, which is very cool, and rather unusual – even with the invention on Facebook I don’t care to re-acquaint myself with many of the folks I went to High School with!  But, Dad and Ken are still close and as a result our families have gotten to know each other.  When I was little we used to get together with Ken, Julie and their two boys, Brian & Chris, frequently.  The parents would play bridge while we kids played together.  Brian is a few years older than me and Chris is a few year younger so it worked out. We even went to Kings Dominion together once and I remember spending Easter at their house one year.  We moved around a lot however and the boys and I grew up and got our own lives and while our parents stayed close, we kids had drifted apart.  I remember stopping by to see them when I was probably in the 13-15 age range, and I saw the boys then, but haven’t seen them since!

Brian and his wife Heather live in Winter Park, CO and Mom got in touch with them to set up lunch and maybe a hike.  Brian and Heather are big into hiking, backpacking, biking, mountain biking, running (they had a close call at the Boston Marathon this year!  Luckily they both finished before the bomb!) and other active things!  In fact, about 10 years ago now, my parents were doing an off road Jeep “car-hike” in Yankee Boy Basin which is down near Ouray and pretty far off the beaten path and they got out to look at something and they hear “Mr. Amory?  Mrs. Amory?”  It was Brian and Heather! They were out backpacking in the same area!  Crazy!   So today we headed up and over the mountains, through Rocky Mountain NP to Grand Lake on the other side to meet up with them for lunch. 

It was a great drive!  The storms hadn’t rolled in yet and the overlooks we hadn’t stopped at on Thursday were now clear views and we stopped to take pictures and use the facilities!  Coming down the other side there were views we hadn’t seen yet, but by this time we were getting a little rushed to get to Grand Lake on time so we didn’t stop.  We barely stopped when saw a moose even b/c by then we were really pressed for time. 

We just arrived in Grand Lake when my phone rang – it was Brian – they were running late, be there about a 1/2 hour later!  So we had some time to explore Grand Lake before lunch! 

We had a lovely lunch at the Sagebrush BBQ and Grill and talked about hiking, running, RVing, jobs etc!  Then after lunch Brian, Heather, Dad and I headed out to hike up to Adams Falls and beyond. 



Adams Falls


The falls were about a 1/4 mile in and then the trail wound through a meadow and then back into the forest! At the first view we of course took pictures.


The Meadow

IMG_0332Dad and I


Brian & Heather


We saw a bull moose eating the willow!




Soon after we saw the moose the rain went from occasional drops to a steady shower, promoting us all to put on our rain gear.  We were guessing it was a typical CO afternoon thundershower so forged ahead.  There were a few rumbles of thunder, but we were low enough and had enough tree cover that the lighting wasn’t as a huge of a danger as it is above the treeline.  Soon though the rain turned to little hail pellets!!!  We pulled off the trail into the woods to shelter from the rain/hail and almost as soon as we did, the rain slowed and stopped and the sun came back out!

We saw a bunch of wildlife on the trail – deer, a marmot, a very large chipmunk and fish in the stream.  Brian seems to have a 6th sense for animal spotting!  Dad even had a butterfly land on him and try to get nectar from his shirt!


We walked in about an hour and then turned around right the trail to a campsite and walked back about an hour.  On the way back the storm clouds were building to the east.


Soon we were back at the car ready to head back into Grand Lake and get mom so we could head back over the mountain.  It was a lot of fun hiking with Brian and Heather and I wish we could do more of that!

One more photo before Brian & Heather headed back home:


We spent some time dillying in Grand Lake – getting ice cream and then checking out the three campgrounds over there for possible places to stay next weekend and didn’t end up starting the trip over the mountain until almost 7.  It was a perfect time to be driving the high elevations as the sun was to our backs and making the mountains pretty colors!  It also brought the elk out in droves! There were many “elk jams” on the way down!  It was after 8 before we reached Estes Park to grab a quick dinner before heading on to Loveland!

To see more pictures from our drive over the mountain and the hike see my album on Google+: Lunch & Hike with Brian and Heather

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