Estes Park Day 2

July 19, 2018 - The plan for today was to explore Estes Park and see how close we could get to the Stanley Hotel.  We hooked Chase up and headed in search of a parking space for Chappy.  We found a space at the visitor’s center where we could back in and overhang a grassy area but we had to back in a "pull in" parking space which meant coming in backwards.  After waiting for the lane to clear we popped in and hooked up the hound and headed for town.  

Estes Park is but a tourist destination.  There were lots of different shops of various kinds and lots of people coming in and out.  For this crowd there were also plenty of restaurants and places to grab a treat.  Chase enjoyed walking down the sidewalks and he would get excited if he saw a chipmunk or another dog.  Many of the shop owners had a bowl of water outside for visiting pets and Chase had to stop at every single one of them.  Our stroll took us down the shady side of the street and we were grateful for that since the weather was a little on the warm side.  Locals told us it was unusually warm.  We popped in and out of a few stores with one holding the dog while the other shopped.  We walked on down the sunny side of the street and then set out to see if we could get up to the Stanley.  We followed a sidewalk which seemed to go in the general direction and when we got close everything ended with no obvious route leading to the old hotel.  we then headed toward a trail system which appeared to lead to an interesting old relic of a stone cabin.  when we found the trail head it was clearly marked “No Dogs”.  At this point we turned and started heading back to Chappy.  We did not get to spend much time in Estes Park when we were there 30 years ago (and I’m sure it has changed quite a bit since then) so we checked that one off the bucket list and decided to have some lunch.  

We drove back into the national park where just inside was an area the longhorn sheep came down from the mountain to graze and waller in the muddy marsh.  We found a good spot there and opened up for some lunch.  Afterwards, we drove back into Estes Park and stopped for fuel and a few things at the store.  It was still pretty early so we drove north a little way and turned on Devil’s Gulch Road.  The name was intriguing enough to see what Devil’s Gulch was all about.  The drive took us through some very nice properties and after a short drive we were met with signs warning of steep switchbacks and a road that led down into the gulch.  It was fun and Chappy really enjoyed it. We drove way on down into the gulch past a fast moving stream and after several miles we turned around and headed back up the gulch towards camp.  We had found a road leading back to Mary’s Lake from downtown and we took it for a change of scenery.  

I had met a couple earlier in the day Polly and John, who were from Las Cruces New Mexico and who had a Sprinter van similar to ours.  When I saw them later in the evening I invited them over and when they arrived they saw our shade situation and asked if we’d like to come over to their campsite which was well shaded.  We obliged and had a nice visit.  They were retired from teaching in military schools in Europe and they were well traveled.  Polly was a talker and loved to talk about herself and her husband.  We used the Chase excuse to leave early and bid our adieus and headed back to our site for another cocktail before dinner. 2018