Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Colorado July 14-25, 2009. Poudre River, Dumont Lake & 40th anniversary celebration.

After three nights in RMNP at 8600’ elevation, Sharon was saying we really needed to move down to a lower elevation again. To be fair, Al wasn’t complaining about the move. He wasn’t feeling as well as he should.

We moved to Cache la Poudre Canyon about 30 miles west of Fort Collins. “Cache la Poudre” is “Powder Cache” in French. Poudre is pronounced “Pooh-der” in French. At one time there were caches of gun powder along the river.

We are staying at Kelly Flats CG elevation 6750’.

Our campsite

About 50 feet from our front door we have a small beach to take our chairs to and enjoy watching the river go by. We live an exciting life don't we??

Another view of the river

One morning Al took a hike to the top of “Heart Attack Hill”.

Heart Attack Hill is on Kelly Flats 4 wheel drive trail. The term “Heart Attack” references the fear you would experience trying to drive a 4x4 vehicle up the trail. There is a “bypass” route so you don’t have to drive up the hill to follow the trail to the end.

From the campground it is about 1 mile and 750’ elevation gain to the top of the hill.
The last 1/3 mile is a steep rough climb going about 500’ up. This is the "heart attack" section!

As steep as it was going up, coming down was even more fun! As you can see in the picture above, lots of loose gravel made it very slippery coming down. If you aren’t very careful it is a good place to fall and break something.

The view from the top.

The campground is where the white spot is in the top center of the picture.

Along the lower part of the trail there were some pretty wild flowers

A short way off of the trail someone made a camp and apparently wanted some of the comforts of home. They brought & left this sofa!

After 6 days at this lower elevation we felt we could move back up into the mountains. We moved to Dumont Lake CG, elevation 9600’, in Routt NF about 20 miles east of Steamboat Springs.

There have been very good rains this spring and summer. The mountain area around Dumont Lake is covered with wildflowers. This is view out the front door of the Bug.

There are so many wild flowers, we could not only see and smell them as we walk in or by the fields, we can actually smell the blooms as we slowly drive by the fields.

A couple of pictures of wild flower fields

Dumont Lake,

Fishing on Dumont Lake

Pretty bird

Our 40th wedding anniversary dinner celebration.

August 16th will be our 40th wedding anniversary. We wanted to find a nice place to have dinner and celebrate the event. We prefer to celebrate within a day or two of the actual day. However so much of the time we are in the middle of nowhere which makes it difficult to find a nice place to celebrate. Al was browsing the city of Steamboat Springs online and found a restaurant in a lodge near the top of the ski slope here. They offered a package deal: the gondola ride to and from the end of the line and a three course dinner. It seemed like a pretty good deal so we (Al) made reservations (recommended) and on Friday evening, we celebrated our 40th. (DANG, that’s a very long time when it is said like that). There had been some showers during the day which meant that there were clouds remaining. This was different from the previous days when it had been totally clear all day.

The gondola ride was really nice. They use the ski gondolas which are 8-person cabins but, since there wasn’t the ski rush, every group got its own private cabin. I was able to ride my scooter (the Grammy Express)

right into the gondola

and then, just backed it out when we arrived. The ride was really spectacular

– it took almost 10 minutes to slowly move up the mountain. We could watch the scenery and clouds and completely enjoy the ride.

Once at the top of the ride, there were people to help us off the gondola and to show us how to get into the restaurant without running into stairs. Once in the restaurant, we were quickly shown our table.

There were enough wait staff that our water glasses were kept full and whatever we needed was taken care of quickly. Our waitress was from England (been here over 20 years) and was very helpful and friendly. We had decided to have an appetizer and from the selection available, we decided on splitting a stuffed Portobello mushroom (really glad we did since it was VERY filling). It was stuffed with Boursin cheese and tempeh. There were both red and yellow tomatoes that had been slightly roasted and a nice handful of baby field greens. It was beautiful and very tasty.

We both had the house salad with more baby field greens, asparagus spears, walnut pieces and cherry tomatoes with a nice vinaigrette. The only thing we DID NOT like was their cornbread croutons! They were so crumbly-dry they felt and tasted like plain corn meal.

We both had the tenderloin. It was beautiful and tasted like it looked! There was a port wine reduction with it, a piece of grilled polenta and baby summer veggies. The whole thing was really beautiful and delicious.

For dessert, we both had white chocolate creations from the pastry chef. They were totally outstanding and we ended up bringing the piece of vanilla bean cheesecake with the other stuff back in a little doggy box.

We also had a nice bottle of merlot with dinner. I told Al that it was really amusing how much better wine tastes in a Riedel glass as opposed to the plastic glasses we have in the Bug. BUT, plastic doesn’t break as easily as Riedel does so we have made the compromise.

The smiling bride.

And the groom

The ride back down the mountain was really beautiful! The opening of the gondola ride was mostly dark so we swung out into total darkness with a sort of swoop. The lights of Steamboat Springs were twinkling and shining so bright! It was truly breath taking and beautiful. The only problem was the ride ended too soon!

That's all for now.

Al & Sharon

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