We stayed at Elk Meadow Lodge and RV Park. The lodge was built in 1927 in the National Park but was abandoned in 1959 and a few years later it was moved to its present location. There were plans to use it in the filming of the TV show Bonanza but that never happened. The bar in the lodge was built in 1879 and was originally in a hotel in Denver. The bar owner commissioned an artist to paint a picture of his wife to go behind the bar but he never did specify the pose. When he saw that the artist had painted his wife in the nude he refused to pay for the painting. The artist then gave the nude a sixth toe in retaliation.
We woke up every morning to great views of Longs Peak. The drive to the summit in the park is one of the most scenic drives in the country. I did some birding and was able to find a female White-tailed Ptarmigan and two chicks after 4 hours of hiking tundra hillside above 12,000 feet I also came upon a herd of over 40 elk. A week later we had a light dusting of snow. I drove up the mountain early to look for Rosy Finches. Not more than 500 yards up the road there was a moose jam on the park road. A nice bull moose was lying in the thicket along with a small heard of Elk. I drove up the mountain until I came out of the clouds and the snow at 10,500 feet. I hiked over to a snow field at 11,500 feet and found two Brown-capped Rosy Finches and also came upon 4 more White-tailed Ptarmigan.
The first weekend we were in Estes Park the Longs Peak Scotfest was held at the fairgrounds so we attended every day. We went to the Thursday night Tattoo, a very patriotic event with military marching units and music. The highlight was the US Army Fife and Drum Corp, dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms. An added bonus was the Fountain City Brass Band from my hometown of Kansas City who also entertained us on the festival grounds the next day. We also attended the Saturday night Ceilidh. Which featured one traditional Irish Band. The Elders, also from Kansas City and Celtica a Heavy Metal Punk Rock group. If you want to hear Queens, We Will Rock You played on bagpipes check them out on YouTube. This is the first Scotfest we have attended. There were a lot of bagpipes, kilts, Celtic dogs, caber tossing, by women as well as men and also lots of Guinness and Scotch.But the wildest part was the heavy armor jousting, with both men and women competing. We saw some vicious hits with knights being knocked off of their horse and having to be helped off the field.
We drove into Fort Collins one day and toured the New Belgium Brewery. Their best known beer is Fat Tire Larger. It was a fun tour with beer tastings at all the stops. Jo was not impressed with the sour beer.
One evening we saw a movie in the Park Theater in Estes Park. It is the oldest active movie theater still in use in the US. It was built in 1913. When the man who built it, his wife to be left him at the altar he built the tower with the money earmarked for his reception. With an ornate outside and hollow inside he said it was just like his intended wife.
One day we drove to Allenspark and visited the St Catherine's Chapel on the Rock. Pope John Paul II visited here in 1993 and during the floods of last year the water went on both sides of the church causing it no damage.
Today we travel to Monument, Colorado just to the north of Colorado Springs.