Sunday, July 3
In the evening we broke in our new poles and did the Sunset Walk at the YMCA-R, took 45 minutes or so there and back, very nice; there are signposts along the way which feature the text of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree (outbound) and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (inbound). We bought them to increase stability, help knees, but discover that using arms as well as legs increases the calorie usage by about 50% and gives something of an upper body workout. And makes hiking seem a lot like Nordic skiing.
In the afternoon/evening we did something.
We did something else on Tuesday afternoon, and then after dinner in the Commons actually did an organized activity – square dancing. Josh is not a pro, but did ok, although the altitude is still having an impact, requiring more breaks. I can now not only do-si-do, swing, and promenade my partner but even do a Virginia Reel. Rain this evening; we had been anticipating thunderstorms in the afternoons so bigger hikes in the ams, but the weekend was pretty dry altogether; this is the first real rain.
On the way back, we stopped at a marina on the shores of Lake Granby, where we actually had quite a nice late lunch; Pat had the stuffed trout special, and I had elk medallions. Very good.
We did something that evening.
Now feeling ready for climbing a bit, we return to the RMNP, but just few miles inside the entrance, to take the Green Mountain trail as far as Big Meadow. It is a 2 mile hike pretty up –about 1000 foot gain, and not easy, but we could do it, which wouldn’t have been true a few days earlier. Very nice hike up through the forest. At the end we did a .2 mile detour to see the south end of the Big Meadow, and then did another .5 mile north and back, passing a ruined cabin. One can continue on around and come back in 7.6 total miles with about another several hundred feet gain and loss, but we headed back, totaling about 5 miles, maybe a little more. The Big Meadow is – a big meadow. Lots of water running through it.
Very beautiful. On the way back, we stopped for a late lunch in Grand Lake, on the north shore of – Grand Lake, which is just north of Lake Granby. Grand Lake is a definite tourist town with lots of hotels and restaurants, one of which we ate in, very nice.
Then we headed west on US 40 about 9 miles from Granby to Hot Sulphur Springs. We found the resort, paid our fee, put on our suits, and tried a number of the 18 sulphur pools that get pretty much hotter as you head up the hill; top temps are over 110 (too hot); 107-108 was hot enough and a few degrees cooler was something we could sit in for a while. And then lie on lounge chairs. Came back totally refreshed and relaxed and ready for bed, after a walk around the grounds of YMCA-R.
We decided we didn’t have to hike today; very overcast in the am. Made reservations for a horseback ride, and went to breakfast. Two-hour trail ride began at 10:30, and as usual on trail rides, nice to see parts of the woods and grounds that we couldn’t as easily do on foot (at least in that time). Pat and I picked up the rear on two relatively docile and slow horses, mine needing a lot of kicking to go. I discovered the angle for kicking was hard on my right knee; fortunately Pat had trouble with her left knee, so in future we can lean on each other with two good knees between us! It wasn’t until it was over that I realized how sore my tailbone was, making it very difficult to sit. Pretty raw also. Still hurting.
So, after a nap, we went back to the SolVista ski area at Granby Ranch and took the chairlift up with our hiking poles about 1000 feet (8200 to 9200) and on a sunny afternoon at 4:30 took off on a crest trail. Beautiful view of the mountains at the start. We passed by 2 trails down, opting for one farther south, Rabbit Run, for a longer hike. Worked well, although the sky was threatening about the time we started down, and an hour or more later when we reached the base (walking through woods, mostly) we were getting wet. But not too heavy a rain, and no hail. Then ate at the Seven Trails Grille because it was there and GREAT FOOD! Really good chef. I’d buy a condo here so I’d never have to cook! I had a Greek Kasseri cheese and spinach stuffed meatloaf (lamb and beef) and wonderful gazpacho! Pat had great salad and outstanding Margherita pizza. There was a lot more on the menu; including a great-looking mussels special.
And now back in the room, writing a bit, and moving my tailbone to different positions. Tomorrow, another short hike south of Winter Park and then heading home to KC.