Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Most Memorable Vacation

Hello from Garden on Sherlock Street!  The garden is still going strong.

For September, I posted the monthly tour and then readied posts about the containers to share while we were on vacation.

I've kept up with comments, but have not been around to visit your blog lately.  I will catch up soon!

We are well, but had a most memorable vacation.

We left on Saturday, September 7 for our favorite vacation destination.  The place where we honeymooned twenty years ago vowing while we were there that time to return every five years.  We have returned every five years.  Each time we go, we enjoy our favorite restaurants, shops and hikes.  Also, we always find something new and amazing.

Reservations were made months ago for an adorable cabin to be our home base for a week away.

We packed the hiking gear, loaded the bikes on the rack, chose music for the road trip and grabbed the suitcases.  Then, we headed out to Estes Park, Colorado.

If you've been tuned to the news this past week, especially to The Weather Channel, you've probably heard about Estes Park along with Boulder, Lyons, etc along the front range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  Unprecedented flooding hit that area starting September 12.

First of all, we were never in any danger.  The cabin we reserved was high above the closest river, but we had to make an extra long trek home because so many roads were been washed out.

Here's how the week shaped up for us:

Saturday, September 7
We arrived in Estes Park, settled into our cabin and enjoyed a delicious supper at our favorite barbecue place.

Sunday, September 8
We took the day to adjust to the higher altitude.  We leisurely drove Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park which crosses the mountains enjoying the views and the wonderful weather.  We were prepared for it to be cold and windy at the top, which it usually is; but this time it was warm and calm.  Gorgeous day.  We even hiked to a waterfall.

Monday, September 9
We hiked from our cabin into the national park across Beaver Meadows and up above the Fern Lake area where we could see the area burned by fire last year.  The weather was normal.  A little mountain shower in the late afternoon.  We watched elk along the way.

Tuesday, September 10
We woke up to fog.  We headed out hiking into the national park and caught a shuttle to the Glacier Gorge area to hike to Mills Lake.  It was foggy the whole time and rained too.  We pulled out the ponchos for much of the hike.

Wednesday, September 11
We had planned to ride our bikes in town, but it was rainy and dreary.  We went to town anyway walking the river walk and checking out the shops along the way.  The place where the Big Thompson River and the Fall River meet was normal.

We did drive the road along the bike trail we hoped to ride to see what it looked like.  We ate supper at an Italian restaurant we discovered on our honeymoon.  It sits right by the Big Thompson River.  We walked along the main street after supper and enjoyed ice cream under an awning as it rained.  It rained all night.
I've never heard it pour rain for such a long time as I heard that night on our cabin roof.

Thursday, September 12
We were going to hike again even if it was raining, but it was hard to get out of bed with the sound of rain on the roof.  We turned on the local info channel on the TV and saw the flood warnings issued along the Big Thompson River.  We also heard there had been some damage to Highway 34 which is the road we came to town on.  And, the bike trail we checked out the day before was flooded/washed away along Fish Creek.  We sent text messages to a few family members to tell them that our cabin was high above areas flooding.  We drove into town and were amazed at the water along the Big Thompson River.

We were still able to go into Rocky Mountain National Park.  We checked out the Fall River and drove around to the Estes Park area along the Fall River.  The water was really running, but still contained.  We picked up some soup to heat for supper at the cabin and stayed in Thursday night.  We tried to update family and friends but land lines, cell towers and internet were all out.  We went to bed with the sound of rain on the cabin roof.

Friday, September 13
Internet service was restored early in the morning so we could email family and friends back home.  However, overnight, the Fall River had flooded.  Many people were evacuated and many people were stranded as roads washed out and rock and mud slides occurred.  The only road left out of Estes Park was Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park over the mountains to the west.  We spent the day checking information for our departure on Saturday and walked into town to see the flooding.

This video shows the Fall River running out of its banks and down the main street.  This was after it started to recede.

Amazingly, the lady who runs the movie theatre said as long as she had power there would be a movie that night.  She also has a little cafe.  We ate lunch there.  It was cash only and some menu items were not available.  She was near the Fall River, but up on a ridge.  We checked with the person who rented us the cabin and were told we could return if for some reason we couldn't get out the next morning as no new guests were coming into town.  Our cabin would be available.  There was a break in the weather Friday night.  No rain, and more importantly, no snow or ice on top of the mountains.

Saturday, September 14
We packed the truck and left Estes Park at 8 am Mountain Time.  The park ranger at the gate of Rocky Mountain National Park told us the road was dry, we may find some fog near the top of the mountains and that all side roads were closed due to damage from the rain.  We had a slow, beautiful drive that morning.

It was eerie seeing the national park so empty.  We could only see a few other cars as we wound our way over the top of the mountains.  No one was parked on the pullouts taking photos.  All the campground roads and visitor center roads were barricaded.  Two hours later, we were out of the national park in Granby, CO.  With cell service, we sent some text messages and prepared for a much longer drive home than normal.
We made it to the Sunflower State Saturday night, but not all the way home.  We found a little motel to catch some sleep.

Sunday, September 15
We arrived home Sunday morning to a garden that had also received rain.  Thankfully not as much as in the mountains.

Estes Park received over 12 inches of rain while we were there.  Many other places in the mountains received much more.  Never dreamed we'd watch a nationally televised natural disaster first hand.  Our hearts go out to all who are affected by the flooding.  We've already heard reports of planning and rebuilding, but winter is coming soon to the mountains.  That will slow efforts.  We will return to our favorite vacation destination.  Maybe sooner than five years.  What a reminder that there is a power greater than all of us.  Man made structures gave way as the beautiful landscape we love to visit continues to be created.

We're catching up on life at GonSS.

Be well and as my wonderful husband said many times during our vacation, "this is the day we have.  Let's make the most of it."

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  1. Well, that trip didn't turn out quite as planned-but how exciting to see such weather! I'm glad you guys are safe and still got to do things.
    Happy Anniversary!

  2. I'm happy to see an update from you. Glad you had this time to celebrate your lives together and that you were safe. It is heartbreaking to see all the destruction.

  3. Sounds like your vacation was indeed memorable. My aunt used to have a small restaurant called Kay's Cafe in Allenspark. We visited years ago and took Trail Ridge Road home. It was just before the road was closed for the winter...and we ran into a snow storm. We saw no cars while we were traveling that road. A scarey thing for people who live on flat land. So glad you made the best of it. Beautiful scenary in those mountains...Glad you made it home safe and sound.

  4. Am so happy that you are safe. I would have not stayed the whole time as I would have wanted out. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Holy Cow---had no idea you all were vacationing there. I've been keeping up with all of the horrible flooding all around Colorado.. Glad you were high and dry --and didn't have many problems. Glad you could get out of there also --when you left... We LOVE RMNP and the area all around there... Last year at this time we were there --and stayed in Fort Collins. We drove that canyon road between Fort Collins and Estes Park several days while there. Can't believe that all of that area flooded--and that many roads are gone or damaged. Scary!!!

    Glad you had a wonderful vacation despite the weather.

  6. Welcome home both of you. It looks as though you both made the most of it regardless of the weather. I'm all for staying in bed a little longer if it's raining outside. The foggy day at Mills Lake looks very atmospheric, I can almost feel the dampness and quiet here. We've seen the flooding on the news over here, and glad you were safe in your romantic cabin. Have a good week.

  7. Oh dear ~ I am so happy that you two are safe. You got some wonderful photos, but seeing the flooding in the town was so sad for all of those people.

    I love what your husband said to you:"this is the day we have, let's make the most of it." May I remember that each and every day.

    Again, Happy Anniversary and may your love continue to grow stronger with each passing day.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  8. You really had a vacation to remember. We've seen many of the news reports and recognized quite a few of the places we visited last year. It's hard to imagine what the floods have done to places we enjoyed so much. Like you, we'll go back there. I'm glad you were safe from the floods and got home safely.

  9. I'm really glad you're ok! I wasn't sure what part of CO you lived in or if you'd been affected by the floods. It sounds like a great trip. :o)

  10. Memorable indeed! I was transfixed by each day's events. Wow to be a part of it all and be safe. That is important. Did you drive all the way to Colorado? Sounds like so much fun. One day my husband and I must head west. Happy anniversary to you.

    1. Yes. All driving. What's normally a 6-7 hour drive (we don't always take the interstates) was a 12 hour drive home. We did get to see some new areas.

  11. Glad you are home safe and sound!! That will be memorable forever!! What an incredible opportunity to see and live it!!


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