This past weekend was my husband’s birthday. We mulled over several ideas before landing on a weekend trip to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National.
Rocky Mountain National Park is the reason I live in Colorado. At the age of seventeen, my then high school boyfriend, did a cross-country road trip with his dad. His favorite place throughout the trip was Rocky Mountain National Park. He could not stop raving about it. I guess it should not have come as a surprise, considering his favorite activities, then as well as now, were hiking, rock climbing and skiing but at the time I did not think much of it. Four years and two ski trips to Colorado later, as seniors in college, we started discussing our future. I had decided I was done with school and was excited to start looking for a job. My boyfriend, was planning to go to graduate school, the only question was, where? He broached the idea of applying to graduate schools in Colorado, having dreamed of living there for the last four years. I was not thrilled with the idea given my friends and family all lived in Massachusetts. I also had solid internship experience in Massachusetts with the potential for a full time job offer but after much discussion I figured, “It’s only two years.”
In June 2011, we moved to Golden, Colorado. My boyfriend was going to Colorado School of Mines for Mechanical Engineering and I was working at a local engineering firm. The first year was tough but as we slowly made friends and got to know the area, it got easier. As my boyfriend turned fiance, neared graduation, we started talking about where he should apply for jobs, back in Massachusetts or here in Colorado. I decided “Let’s stay in Colorado for just another couple of years.”Well, that was four years ago. We’re now married and bought our first house in Denver last March. I think it’s safe to say we’re going to stay and all because of a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park elevens years ago.
Saturday, we did some backcountry skiing at Hidden Valley. The snow was a week old and crusty but the weather was gorgeous. Hidden Valley is an old abandoned ski area located in the national park. It was open from 1955-1991. The lodge and lifts are gone but the cut runs are still apparent and the spirit of skiing lives on in the form of backcountry skiers.
Check out the ski map from 1965 (courtesy of coloradoskihistory.com).
After skiing, we headed to our hotel to get cleaned up for dinner. By chance, we had three independent people tell us to go to the Rock Inn, so we did. The Rock Inn was built in 1937 as a dance hall and continues to host musicians and bands with performances most weekends. It’s a popular place, so either plan to get there early or enjoy a beer at the bar as you wait for your table. The food was wonderful, the service excellent and the atmosphere fun. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
On Sunday, we decided to stop in at Eldora for a few runs, having never been there before. We enjoyed a couple of runs and some beautiful views before heading back to Denver.