I refuse to believe I can have a nice mellow trip in the wilderness.....or a nice mellow trip in general for that matter. On his way back to Charlotte from California, my buddy Jeff decided to make a weekend stop to visit. In my mind, this means how much can we squeeze into one weekend. It's on...
So Jeff arrived in Denver around noon on Friday. We immediately made the necessary trip to REI. If you like the outdoors, it is mandatory to stop at the Denver REI as it is the Holy Grail of gear. I knew he had a very early morning and was whipped, so I threw him in the back of my car (better known as my sleeping quarters) for a little snooze as we hit the road.
First stop: Fort Collins
As we rolled into town, we did not waste any time and headed to Odell's Brewery for a little taste. Then is was off to New Belgium Brewery for some more free beer and free post cards (your welcome Terrie). We followed the beers up with a couple margs from the Rio and some quality mexican food. From there, it was the Town Pump (the smallest bar in the world) before dance partying in the streets as we headed to our destination of sleep.
Next stop: Rocky Mountain National Park
We awoke feeling great and hit the road. Making a little pit stop in Lyons, CO to take care of some school stuff, we were dooped into buying Ocarinas (look it up). Jeff immediately displayed his flute skills as we drove up the mountain.
Our first day in the park was spent just driving around. We made our way up Trail Ridge Road to a wonderful sledding hill. See video.
At this point, everything was still going according to plan. We set up camp at our site surrounded by hundreds of other tourists for a night of whiskey, Jiffy Pop, steak, brocoli, chips and Jeff's ocarina scerenade.
We awoke Sunday with a tight schedule and a full agenda. Before leaving the park, we knew we had to go on a hike. And that is where things went wron. On our map, there was a nice little lake we wanted to hit up, take a polar dip and head to the car. We were looking at about 4 miles....not a problem. The ranger told us the trail to the lake was unimproved....again, not a problem. I have hike a number of unimproved trails and was not concerned. However, what we came to find out was that "unimproved" actually meant still covered with snow. Needless to say, we lost the trail and really had no idea where we were. Thank God, I threw jeff the compass before we left. We would definitely still be there if I hadn't. So we decided to head southeast towards the car regardless of terrain. Bushwacking has become quite the trend in my hiking experiences.
So we made it to the car with about two hours to catch Jeff's plane. So book it we did. After a little pit stop for a freezing bath in a mountain river, we were on it.
Looking pretty good on time, we hit weather. Not just any weather, tornado warnings all over Denver. There was hail, wind, rain and, of course, wrecks. Jeff's plane was scheduled to leave at 4:00 and we made it to the airport at about 4:10.....good effort.
Jeff caught the first flight out in the morning, we saw The Hangover and it was a great ending to a crazy weekend.
Brew tour, shady bar, dance party, flute jams, sledding, family portrait with elk, lost trail, river bath, tonados, missed flight......just another weekend!