Day 16 After an all-day drive through Kansas, we finally entered Colorado and spent our first night in Jellystone Campground, near Castle Rock.
Day 17 Kicking off the morning with a jog along the South Pacific Railroad, we were in near-shock knowing that we finally made it into “The West”. Since we only reserved one night in Jellystone, we packed up and headed for Denver. With Cabelas on the way, it was a no-brainer to stop and get Kate geared up with fishing equipment, in anticipation for some great trout fishing ahead. As we ventured through Denver, we met some rowdy locals (starting their weekend off early) and stopped for a bite to eat at The Spot, which was key because Lyle needed to stretch his legs and the restaurant was dog-friendly. We ended the day winding through the Big Thompson Canyon up to Estes Park, and settling in the Spruce Lake RV Campground at 7,522 ft elevation. After a lifelong goal of getting to the Rockies, we went out for a few drinks at the Rock Inn, where a local band called Flynn & Co. tore up the stage.
Day 18 Started off going down the mountain into Boulder, where we walked Lyle around town and checked out the local shops. We had a killer lunch at Foolish Craig’s Cafe (as seen on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives), which was also another dog-friendly eatery. On our way back to the Airstream, we stopped at The Laughing Grizzly’s Fly Shop to buy our fishing licenses, and get some advice on where to find some fishable streams nearby.
Day 19 We woke up early on Sunday July 13th to meet up with Kate’s friend from college and her husband for brunch, again in Boulder. It was a coincidence they were visiting Denver the same weekend we were nearby, and it was a great opportunity to have a small reunion with a fellow Nittany Lion. After Boulder we went back to camp and loaded up to go fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park. Accessing through the east entrance, we fished Cub Creek and the Big Thompson River in a huge meadow that looked like it was straight out of a National Geographic film (maybe it was). Even though we saw some nice trout, they got the best of us that day and we weren’t able to land one.
Day 20 & 21 Were cold, rainy, and uneventful (until Tuesday night) and we caught up on a ton of work. After being cooped-up in front of a computer for too long, we decided to get adventurous and take a drive into the park Tuesday night. So Kate, Lyle, and I hopped into the Super Duty and headed to Bear Lake--about a 20 minute drive. After checking out the lake under a full moon, which was surreal, we walked back out of the forest towards the truck, when all of a sudden a faint voice came from the dark. I didn’t think much of it until Kate lept into the truck and locked the doors. Then all of a sudden a figure came running from the woods towards the truck. Before I could react, he had his hands on the window screaming for help. With Lyle in the backseat freaking out, I got out and confronted the guy. It turned out that a young couple from London hiked up into the mountains that day, nearly got struck by lightning during a flash storm, and missed their shuttle back to camp. Once they saw the truck lights turn on they ran for their lives, hoping to catch a ride back down the mountain. We ended up dropping them off at their campsite about 10 miles away, and returned to the Airstream. What a crazy night, but we were glad we had the opportunity to help them out, and bring back a good story!
Day 22 With our time in Estes Park coming to an end, we wrapped up a bunch of maps, took one last jog through town, and prepared for the next leg of our journey. I went fishing that rainy evening and finally was able to land my first Rocky Mountain trout--a Brookie--and also catch my first wild Brown. My entire life I always wanted to catch a wild trout out West, and it finally happened.
Day 23 That morning the team rigged up and pointed our headlights to the highest continuous paved road in America. Trail Ridge Road is one of the most scenic drives in the country, as it climbs to 11,500 ft. in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park. When we reached the summit and saw the Alpine Tundra, it seemed as if we were in another part of the world, and the temperature had dropped to 46 degrees.
After crossing over the other side of the mountain, we ended up in the town of Grand Lake, and stopped to have a picnic on the water. With that quick stop in the books, the Sixty Feet of Silver worked its way southwest to Breckenridge, where we stayed the night at Tiger Run RV Resort. Had some beers at Breckenridge Brewery, and walked to dinner at a cool place called The Dredge, right on a pond in the middle of the old gold mining town.
Day 24 Started out with sending some maps to print, and then we drove west into Glenwood Springs for a short day-stop, on our way to Montrose, CO (which is where we’ll pick up in the next Blog entry)...