July 2, 2016
A Day in Winter Park, CO
In the morning, I woke up to find myself in Winter Park, CO. So, it wasn’t a dream! The sky was overcast, and the weather was cool – heavenly. The day’s possibilities were almost endless, and I couldn’t wait to find out how it would unfold.
Hal and I walked to breakfast at a small café near the hotel. It was busy, being Saturday morning of a holiday weekend, but we didn’t wait long. While we waited, we chatted with a man from Tibet who was selling jewelry. It was beautiful silver jewelry set with different stones, of course the blue ones attracted my eye immediately. But alas, I have so much “stuff” at home, I find it hard to justify buying anything more.
After breakfast, Hal and I walked up and down the main street of Winter Park, looking at more things that were important to the locale – winter clothes, bicycle gear, maps – and other tourists. My favorite places were the bicycle shops. I haven’t been as connected to the bicycling community as I have in the past, and I liked seeing all the updated gear. This time I wanted to buy things, but I held myself back.
The sign says, “never grow up.” How could I not fall in love with a place that has that phrase as its philosophy?
We were highly aware of the local fitness lifestyle, and it was a welcome change from the “breeding” lifestyle of where we live. There were still kids around, but not as many, and their role was downplayed. The fit, sports lifestyle prevailed. I especially loved the winter culture. There were stores with winter clothing on sale, and I wanted to stock up on it, just because I want to live in a cold climate again. I sighed. It is totally impractical for me to buy any winter clothes because I currently live in a place where it is 115° F. (or more) during much of the summer, and it barely gets below freezing in the winter. I hope I can change where I live very soon!
Everyone seemed to be flying along without a care on mountain bikes, riding the various bike trails that wove in and out of the sidewalks and parks. Hal and I thought it would be fun to ride, too. The hotel had offered us free rental of bikes and helmets, so early afternoon found us on a couple of mid-range Trek mountain bikes that turned out to be a lot of fun. We rode for about an hour on the Fraser River Trail. Then, a thunderstorm moved in and we retreated to the hotel to wait it out. We had coffee and a snack, but after the storm rolled through, we re-joined the same trail and continued our ride beyond Winter Park toward Fraser.
The vegetation bordering the trail was lush and green, the air was cool. I had (fortunately) packed clothing to wear on bicycles. We took rain gear with us just in case, because the clouds were still hanging low over the surrounding mountains. It was lovely weather, and I was so grateful to be in it. On this part of the trail, the surface was dirt, much to my delight, but it also meant that we got very muddy!
We rode all the way to Fraser, then turned around and took the same trail back as the sky began to darken with more storm clouds. As I was riding, a deer jumped over the trail in front of me! Hal came up behind me soon after, and we watched the doe disappear into the deep woods. We pedaled back to Winter Park, and got back just as it began to rain again.
Dinner was in the same restaurant as the night before, only much more relaxed, and afterward, we walked around town some more. Later, I washed the mud out of my bicycle riding clothing in the sink of the bathroom, and hung things up to dry. I hoped to have an excuse to wear it all again if we had enough time to ride the bicycles once more before we left.
Our plans for the next day would take us to Estes Park. However, we didn’t know then that our riding day would be full of many challenges.
Next: Rocky Mountain National Park, and the town of Estes Park