Colorado! {Part 3}

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On the third day of our trip, we planned on hiking all day at Rocky Mountain National Park. We switched around the itinerary due to the weather and after our experience at Pikes Peak, decided against the all-day hike extravaganza. The back part of my left knee was bothering me (it was actually a bit swollen…maybe the different elevation?) and also, we didn’t exactly have the proper clothing & gear for several hours of hiking.

Back-up plan #1:  Eldorado Canyon State Park. I’m so glad we came across this little gem after a quick Google search the night before. After searching for things to do in Boulder, we came across good reviews for this inexpensive state park, with plenty of hiking access and at a lower altitude than Rocky Mountain Park. A bonus was that it was only about a 20 minute drive from our hotel, just in case we got there and it wasn’t worth it. {Spoiler alert: it was.}


On our way to Eldorado, we saw some cows, horses and wind turbines. Nothing exciting. See how there are no cars in the picture above? Not on purpose or Photoshopped. It was one of those nice, quiet and winding country roads. Love.

With scenery like this, I knew we were in for a great time at Eldorado, even if it was cloudy, windy and freezing.

The trail we chose to hike was Eldorado Canyon Trail, which is 3.5 miles one way, moderately difficult, and gains 1,000 feet in elevation. We didn’t hike the entire trail since we ran out of water (poor planning, even though we had an entire gallon in the car!) but we managed some decent views along the way. The sun even came out!

Apparently, there is wildlife out here. True story: I kept looking over my shoulder and expecting to see a mountain lion or black bear following our scent. Thankfully, the extent of what we saw on these trails were just tracks and goodness knows, we had no idea what to do if a wild animal did attack us. We only know what to do with alligators or snakes.

After spending a few hours at Eldorado Canyon State Park, we headed north to Boulder which was only about another 20 minute drive.

Our destination in Boulder: Celestial Seasonings. We scored yet another free tour here and I’m so glad we took advantage of it! Ever since my early years in college, I have loved a good cup of tea. A few years ago, I started drinking Sleepytime tea (among other blends) and going on the tour at the factory, it was neat to see how they actually make it and where the tea I drink comes from. We would definitely recommend anyone in the Boulder area to take advantage of visiting Celestial Seasonings.

There are no pictures allowed during the actual tour but I promise you, we were there. My favorite part of the tour was the Peppermint Room. They keep all the crates of mint leaves in a sequestered room. The reason is that menthol (property of peppermint) is a substance that permeates and will actually make other things taste like mint. Or something like that. Pretty neat stuff!

We then headed to Twenty Ninth Street Mall and ate a late lunch at Chipotle. As an aside, I have to mention here that when we first headed into the city of Boulder, we weren’t that impressed by what we saw. Not in a snobby way, but I suppose that coming from Florida has a lot to do with it and we’re just not used to seeing older style housing and industrial buildings. We didn’t notice any museums or parks or theaters. Perhaps it was just that area of Boulder we drove through that didn’t have any of that more cultural type stuff going on. After going to 29th Street Mall, we did leave Boulder with a slightly better impression but it still wasn’t our favorite city from the trip. No offense to anyone who lives in Boulder, it simply didn’t seem to fit our preferences.

Our last stop for the day was Estes Park, Colorado: home of Rocky Mountain National Park. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the post, we originally planned on hiking here most of the day but a change of plans turned out for the best.

I volunteered to drive from Boulder north to Estes Park which took a little over an hour. Can I just say that this was possibly the scariest drive of my life? There were moments of icy roads, plenty of winding sharp curves, and cars trying to pass me around a curve {really? really!}. On top of that, it was still pretty stinkin’ windy and our humble rental car sounded like it was struggling to make it up the winding mountain road.

As we neared the entrance of the park, we noticed some cars had pulled off to the side of the road.

Wildlife sighting! {Please ignore the poor quality of the following images. It was pitch black, windy and we were in the safety of our car.} Does anyone know what these animals might be? We were thinking elk but of course, we’re from Florida and they could be baboons and we wouldn’t know the difference.

We were so glad to have made the drive up to Estes Park, even though we almost bypassed the opportunity. From a tea factory tour to seeing wildlife up close and personal, this day of our trip was certainly one of the most eventful.

Stay tuned for a bonus {short} post about how we spent our last morning in Colorado.

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6 thoughts on “Colorado! {Part 3}

  1. the Provident Woman says:

    I love Colorado. My brother lives in Denver. We don't get to visit him enough, but when we do we get to see beautiful mountains like you did. Hope you had a great time.
    theprovidentwoman.com

  2. UrbanWife says:

    Thanks for the tips on Boulder! I knew I was missing something. 🙂 The elk were impressive animals, nothing like we had seen before.

  3. Courtney says:

    Hello! I'm new on your blog, stumbled over here from Tabitha's blog. I recently moved from Colorado, so I was curious about your trip. 🙂 What you saw in Estes Park were elk – there's a huge population there, and they even live on the grounds of The Stanley in Estes.

    Too bad about Boulder… the trick there is to head further West into town, towards the Pearl Street Mall. Boulder is really an outdoor city, so if the weather wasn't nice, there probably wasn't much going on. Glad you had such a nice trip!

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