“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.” -Jeffrey Rasley
We arrived in Estes Park in the early afternoon. Topping the hill and looking down on the valley from the welcome sign above the town below, we were all taken in by the scenery of the surrounding mountains. There are times when expressing what one experiences in the moment really has no voice that adequately conveys the feeling you have in that moment. Sometimes, there just are no words, no pictures, no paintings, or drawings of any kind that can fully capture the beauty of things. Some things you just must see and experience for yourself to genuinely appreciate properly. Nature has a way of doing this, on an almost daily basis, if you are willing to allow yourself the time to see it. The pace of nature is more akin to the tortoise than the hare. When visiting any place, I always try to take time out to appreciate what it is I can see, or even feel. It can be emotional or even spiritual if you allow it to be. It is a game of patience that is hard for us, as we live in a world that is a microwave society. We want something now and expect it right away because it is what we are accustomed to; our norm is not to wait on anything for very long; from the speed at which we click through our phones scrolling through what to order on Amazon, to the food we order at the restaurant of our choice, to losing 15 pounds of last year’s Covid weight. We want results right away and that is contrary to what we find in nature, as a general rule. Emerson once said that we should, “adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.” Indeed, most of what we see and experience that moves us, took time to reach its full glory. The giant redwoods and sequoias that reach to the heavens grew slowly and deliberately. The Grand Canyon was carved with a meticulously slow series of events from sedimentary layer building, uplift from the sea floor and the slow erosion from wind and water that is still hard at work today. These Rocky Mountains that loom so large outside our condo, with their snowy white peaks shining in the morning sun, were pushed up slowly, and over time became what we see now, as we sit, looking out while sipping our morning coffee.
Of Geese and Ghosts
There was a small pond that was just below our condo door that had an arched bridge that allowed you to walk onto what is a tiny, round island of grass. Truthfully, it resembled a moat around a castle, as the water surrounded you on each side if you were to cross the bridge to the grassy circle of land. On our stay here we never made it across the bridge. It had been booked before we arrived and unbeknownst to us at the time, paid for in advance by a Canada goose and his mate, affectionately referred to as G1 and G2. Just off the steps of the bridge and in full view of our front condo door, was a well lined and perfectly shaped nest full of eggs that was occupied from our arrival to our departure date, with a very vigilant and at times a bit cranky female goose. On one occasion the K’s and I got to witness the duo in action of defending the soon to be born offspring as the female slowly rose from the nest, carefully and skillfully covered each egg with the downs of her feathers from the nesting material, and swiftly swam to the nearby shore to gorge herself on grass, insects, and any ill placed worms that stood in her path. The male, who has a slightly longer and thicker neck and rounded tail, was nowhere to be found. All was calm and bright until a crow happened to land on the small island and was conspicuously close to the covered egg cache which in turn raised the alarm for both mother and father to be. The male, G1, had been watching from above us on some unseen balcony from our spot below. He made his appearance quick and decisive and descended on the crow like an avalanche of snow roaring down a mountain, and then proceeded to chase away the interloper. The female, G2, flew back to check things out at the nest and then assumed the setting position once more atop the cluster of eggs. For those reading who would suggest that this goose should pick on someone his own size and not bully smaller animals into submission, I give to you exhibit b, where my brother came back from a morning run only to find the sidewalk leading down from the parking lot to our front door had been closed by the aforementioned G1 who did his best Black Knight impression of puffing up and glaring at K4 with a “none shall pass” half crazed look in his eye. K4 acquiesced and went around the building the long way to the condo. As an aside, no babies were born during our time there. I was expecting a post card or birth announcement to come, alas these young couples never write home.
If you believe in ghosts, and I know many of you do, then the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park is a must see for you. For those of you of a certain age, who remember the novel turned film The Shining, it is an interesting side note that Stephen King himself stayed in the hotel, along with his wife, in room 217. As the story goes, the couple were staying one night in Estes Park the day before the hotel was scheduled to be closed for the winter. In doing so, they were the only guests in the large 142 room hotel for the night. It was an eerie feeling for both, as they dined alone in huge dining rooms and wandered empty hallways of the hotel. With King’s imagination, I am sure the experience was all he needed for the birth of the book and so the beginning of The Shining was born that night in the Stanley. There are other stories of paranormal happenings that you can read about or better yet, you can visit and take one of the ghost tours. They even have spirit rooms you can book if you so desire. You can do so at your leisure and with my blessing, but you will do so without my presence as I will wait for you in the mystery machine with Scooby—about two miles away and going as fast away as legally and humanly possible. Honestly, I would much rather face the goose on the sidewalk. Aside from the paranormal activities that you may or may not encounter, the hotel is full of charm and history with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, all of which make for a great place to stay while you explore nearby Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Majesty of the Mountains
Estes Park is beautiful! It sits at an elevation of 7,522 feet and is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park’s eastern entrance. There are elk grazing behind the houses, on the golf course, in the park downtown. It is a great place to just sit and relax, to forget you are in a hurry for a short while and adopt the pace of nature. I am sure if you live there you might tend to take the scenery for granted, as we all do from time to time, with those things we see every day. I hope that is not the case. I hope they walk on the river walk downtown and sit by the running water from the snow melt of the Rockies. I hope they have a glass of wine at dinner or a cup of coffee every morning at the Mile High Coffee House on Elkhorn Avenue and I hope they see those mountains and struggle to find words to describe their majesty, as they look upon them with fresh eyes each day. I would hope we would do the same no matter where we call home. I understand it takes work and re-training what we have come to know as the norm in our hectic lives. Still, it is worth the effort to be more like the tortoise than the hare…unless of course there are ghosts involved, then the hare would be preferable in my opinion, right Scooby?
Part 3 to come…
Thank you for the pictures. I really miss being there.
You are very welcome. I miss being there myself. I hope to get back there soon. Thank you for the comment.