We invaded Colorado last week. One of my writing partners generously loaned us her mountain home on the west side of the Rockies and it was high time to expose Team Testosterone to the mountains. After adjusting to the altitude change, we headed straight for Winter Park ski resort.
This group doesn't go in for downhill skiing, but that's okay because summertime at a ski resort is full of all kinds of other diversions.
Some tame, some less so.
After riding to the highest point and appreciating the view, we started down on foot. Mr. B fell and tore open his knee on a rock. Mr. D took the other two ahead where they ran into a moose and found some wild strawberries to eat. I met a handsome forest ranger who supplies Mr. B with bandaids.
After all this excitement, we spent the next morning whitewater rafting. Mr. B was still sore from his tumble, so the other two went on a hike with me and we discovered this marvelous creek.
Naturally, we had to leave behind proof that we'd played here.
Having ridden a ski lift and a raft, we opted for horses the following day.
It turns out Team Testosterone loves horses. They have big plans to pool their chore money and buy one now.
I love mountains and hiking and majestic views, but horseback riding makes my ass sore. Also? The mountain air, which smells fresh and pine-y and sage-y makes my skin dry and my hair limp. My heart is all for Colorado, but the rest of me prefers the sea.
Next stop: Rocky Mountain National Park. We were on the slow side, which meant more fun with less people. Here we are braving the wind and cold at the Alpine Visitors Center.
We hiked some more. We preferred the trails not clearly marked on the map because nobody else used them.
Heck, sometimes you could hardly see the path. This Ute Trail turned out to be a sheep path. We saw lots of traces of sheep, but no actual sheep.
But we saw a moose!
And a herd of elk.
Of course, seeing elk in the wild meant Mr. G had to add one to his already-extensive collection of stuffed animals.
We also went to the rodeo--a cultural event Team Testosterone had never before experienced. Mr. G participated in chasing some calves around the arena.
We hiked some more. We hiked until Mr. G tearfully begged us to not hike any further. Ever.
This was fine because it was time to catch our plane home. We ate like royalty, exercised like Olympians and bonded like Krazy Glue.
We learned some history and science, checked a few items off our bucket list, and discovered that on the west side of the Rockies:
*You cannot find a bad meal.
*Nor can you find a hamburger without a toasted bun--seriously awesome.
*It's easy to find lots of great local brews.
*The population is a crazy mix of crunchy-granola, adventure enthusiasts, cowboys, conservatives and hippies.
*Most people work to play.
*It's half the price to hang out here than at the other side of the Rockies, but the views are the same.
*Summertime offers a better variety of fun than winter.
*It's more physically taxing to climb up, but coming down requires better balance and technical skill.
*Weather can change on a dime.
If you haven't been to the mountains, the Granby-Fraser-Winter Park-Grand Lake area is the place to go.