Last Few Days in Denver

Sheridan, CO (near Denver)

One of the reasons for our visit to Denver was to be near an airport.  Our daughter, Jessica, teaches school and usually flies to wherever we are located for a visit at the end of the school year.  Her plane was scheduled to land around six in the evening, but severe storms in the Denver area caused the airport to shut down for a few hours.  So while we sat in the terminal, Jessica stopped in Omaha so the plane could take on fuel and wait for the storm to pass.  She finally arrived after nine, tired but so pleased to see her parents!

The first day of her visit we drove in to the city to check out the flagship REI store (Recreational Equipment, Inc).  Leaving the Jeep in the REI parking area, we walked across the South Platte River to the Wynkoop Brewing House (Colorado’s first brewpub and Denver’s first microbrewery) which is just south of Coors Field (home of the baseball Colorado Rockies).

After tasting some of Denver’s finest brews, we walked back to REI for some shopping before heading to another brew house, Breckenridge Brewery, so Jessica could sample some of her favorite beer, Breckenridge Vanilla Porter.  The beer was very good, while the food was about average.

After recovering from our brewery visits, the next day we headed into the mountains for a bit of hiking.  Mt. Evans is about a forty-five mile drive to the west from us and, with an elevation of over 14,000 ft. boasts the highest paved auto road in North America.  At that high elevation snow keeps the road closed for most of the year, but their website said that it was open, so off we went.

But when we arrived at Echo Lake, where the road to the top of the mountain begins, we found that the website was incorrect and the road was still closed.  An employee inside the Echo Lake Lodge said that recent snows had re-covered the road and there was still a large amount of damage to be repaired before the road could open for the season.  It would probably be mid July before it opened.  So we just parked near the lodge and headed out to hike to the Chicago Lakes since the trailhead was here.

Echo Lake

The trail begins next to the lodge and goes through a pine forest for about a half mile.  A bit of snow covered the trail in some spots, but it was mostly smooth and dry here.

The trail then descends down a fairly steep series of switchbacks for approximately a mile to the bottom of a valley.  A nice wide bridge was there to help us across the strong waters of the Chicago Creek.

After crossing the creek the trail joins a dirt road and goes steeply uphill for about a half mile to the Idaho Springs Reservoir.

Hiking at over 10,000 feet takes a toll on you (Jessica was at the ocean two days earlier) so we decided to enjoy lunch along the water then head back.

The perfect spot for lunch!

All that steep down hill we had coming to this location, turned into an uphill climb on the return hike!

Returning to the Jeep after hiking about six miles, we drove the scenic route (although all routes seem to be scenic) back to the city.  As we drove through the small town of Evergreen we noticed a herd of Elk feeding near the road.

Our next two hikes were repeats of ones we did earlier in our stay with some RV friends.  The first of these two hikes was on the Carpenter Peak Trail, which begins in the red rocks of Roxborough State Park.  The trail begins at the visitor center and winds its way up a thousand feet to a great view of the mountains to the west and the prairie to the east.

Lunch with a view

We took a break from hiking the next day and played tourist.  One stop on our tour was for a visit to the Hammond’s Candy Factory.

Located just east of I-25 north of central Denver, Hammond’s offers tours on the half hour.

Preparing to make candy canes

Everyone was thrilled by this tour!

On a more somber note, as educators we felt compelled to go to Columbine High School and pay our respects to the victims of the mass shooting that took place there in 1998.  On a hillside in Clement Park that overlooks the school there is a beautiful memorial to the thirteen students and one teacher who lost their lives in this senseless tragedy.

View of the memorial from the hillside

The inner circle has a written tribute to each of the victims

The last day of Jessica’s visit we headed back to Red Rocks Park to re-hike the seven mile loop on the Dakota Ridge and Red Rocks Trails.  We hiked this trail with friends Steve and MonaLiza previously and knew Jessica would enjoy it.

Heading toward the hogback of Dinosaur Ridge

Beauty on the ridge!

On Wednesday Jessica had an early flight back to the east.  After dropping her off at the airport we returned to the motorhome, packed things up, and headed east on I-70.  Our long distance target is Atlanta for a visit with our son, Kevin, but we have a few places to visit along the way.

More on that later . . .

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28 Responses to Last Few Days in Denver

  1. libertatemamo says:

    What a lovely visit…and hike…and beers!

  2. Marsha says:

    Carrie and Jessica are so much alike. They both just love having a great time…a beer is usually involved in that great time.

    Man was that water ever moving fast at the Chicago Creek. Looks more like a roaring river.

    What? John doesn’t like candy?

    Clement Park looks so peaceful. I still remember where I was when I heard the news about this senseless tragedy.

    All the hikes look awesome. Y’all look so happy. What a wonderful treat to have Jessica join you two and explore some of the beauties of this country. Y’all look so good.

    • placestheygo says:

      We had a wonderful visit with Jessica. She does enjoy a good time and has always been a beer lover. So it was fun to hit two breweries and find some new beers:) The water in all the creeks is running so high and fast. It is fun to watch but this creek was a little scary to cross. The rushing water was so loud. John was totally unimpressed with the candy tour!!

  3. explorvistas says:

    With Diana being a retired educator, we have often discussed Columbine. I’m sure it was an emotional place for you three to go to. My hat is off to all who have taken up that profession, Pam.


    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Jim:) The community did a wonderful job with memorial. It is in a beautiful, quiet location on the outsidedge of the park.

      • explorvistas says:

        It always grinds my gears to hear anyone diss on your profession, as just about every educator I know wouldn’t duck behind their desk in that situation until their students were safe. It’s not like me to climb on a soapbox, but I feel strongly about that. Sorry! 😉

  4. Looks like a great time was had by all….except John during the candy tour!! It’s always great to see all three of you together!

    • placestheygo says:

      It had been six months since we’ve been together. Jessica usually comes to visit in Feb/Mar, also, but they lost so much of their vacation with snow days she didn’t have time. So it was great fun having her visit. And now we will see her this summer again:)

  5. paul weaver says:

    What beautiful country.. You’ve convinced me that we need to return to Colorado in the near future. Glad you had a wonderful time with Jessica. Nine months is tooooo long! Bet you’re leaving the west reluctantly…..I do every spring!

    Be safe!

    • placestheygo says:

      Originally, Paul, we were planning to spend the summer in Colorado before we came up with this plan to get us back east to visit. So we need to spend more time in the state. There are so many places we need to explore in those gorgeous Rocky Mountains.

  6. Beautiful scenery but I expect to poor Jessica had to go home for a rest! lol Looks like you had a lovely visit.

  7. Looks like a fun visit with Jessica! Those two breweries were both on my list for potential spots for our big meetup! The vanilla porter sounds delicious!

    • placestheygo says:

      We made a visit to Wynkoop Brewery, Lisa, after a recommendation from Hans! I’m glad he suggested it. Good beer:) The Breckenbridge Vanilla Porter was very smooth. I really enjoyed it. It is available all over the country!

  8. Janna says:

    Atlanta in the summer?? What a great time you had with Jessica!

    • placestheygo says:

      I know, Janna! Our son said we were crazy, too. But the best time to visit my mother in northern NY on the St. Lawrence River is the summer, so, since we are crossing the country in the heat, why not stop in Atlanta to see Kevin. The last time we did this, it was August in Atlanta!!

  9. Jodee Gravel says:

    Great to see you three together! Jessica must love getting out there and seeing in person what she follows here on the blog. Pretty impressive that she was able to keep up with you two mountain goats 🙂 Safe travels east.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes. Jodee, she does does enjoy seeing the places in person. Jessica didn’t have any trouble with the elevation two years ago when she was out either. We were stay at Mary Lake near Estes Park and were at 8,000 ft. I think it is all the running she does that really built up her lungs.

  10. Laurel says:

    What a wonderful visit with your dear daughter — you’re so fortunate to share a love of the outdoors and hiking. I’m impressed that Jessica could go from sea level to hiking above 10,000 feet in only a day. Beautiful trails — that creek looks more like a raging river! Safe travels as you head east. Can’t wait to see what you find along the way.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Laurel:) Jessica amazed us during her last visit two years ago. She had no trouble heading right out to hike in Rocky Mountain NP and kept right up with her father. I think it is all the running she does that have built up her lungs. She adjusts immediately to the elevation. The creek really was a raging river. That water was moving very fast!

  11. Nancy says:

    Fabulous visit with your baby girl! And what NO BIGHORN!! ??? HA HA HA
    I always like the feet pictures! Never stop…
    Oh and yes… all the other pictures are well liked by me as well!

    • placestheygo says:

      Glad you enjoy our lunch with a view shots, Nancy:) Sadly, no Bighorn!! We needed to be able to hike further up the road for them. Too bad the road was still closed.

  12. LuAnn says:

    Looks like you had another wonderful visit with Jessica. It must be wonderful to have a daughter who loves the outdoors and hiking like you two. We did a hike yesterday that was mostly all inverted, down to the river, then up all the way back. It was beautiful but not my favorite way to do a hike.

    • placestheygo says:

      It is nice that both of our kids enjoy going hiking with us. Sure makes for fun visits. Oh, we aren’t fans of those inverted hikes either. We had one with our Chicago Lakes up at Echo Lake. Losing elevation at the start is never fun. Good to hear you are out on the trails:)

      • LuAnn says:

        Wish we had kids who loved nature like we do. We are very happy to be back out on the trails. Safe travels back east.

  13. mdbelock says:

    Glad you found some good hikes and beer. You should check out Breckenridge when you return one day.

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