If there was one theme that repeated itself every dang day during my dear wife Karen’s Family Reunion in Estes Park, it was: Take a Hike.
So on Monday morning bright and clear, the gang that remained gathered on the Village Green with a mission to walk along the Creek Walk that at its start passed along the back of a stretch of store blocks that we’d been visiting through the front doors since our Thursday arrival.
We’d already said goodbye to sibling Lynne and nieces Stormy and Kimi, who’d stopped at the cottage on their way to the airport. This would be our final hours with sibling Jana and niece Dacia and nephew Drew, who would take a lift from sibling Scott back to their place to grab a shuttle into Denver following this walk.
So the strolling cast included the brothers Scott and Steve, with nephew Ross, all who would be staying like us until Tuesday before leaving for California, Oregon and Washington; our crew of four with daughter Elisabeth and boyfriend George Three, who happily participated in every event and were welcomed into the Miner family big-time; Jana, Dacia and Drew before starting the long trek home to Alaska; and cousin Beth with boyfriend Joe, who brought two sweet dog with them in the RV they drove up from Arizona to arrive late Saturday.
After crossing the busy street and passing through the parking lot that serviced both the adventure company that took us up the mountain in the big jeep and Mexican restaurant that whipped up a delicious meal for 15, reached the walk and headed to the left.
Click on gallery photos for a description. Click on the bottom right photo for an enlarged slide show.
My mind turned to our downtown Syracuse Creekwalk, a path of striking appearance and utility that just sort of … sits there, with no stirring of economic growth of new restaurants or other service establishments along its way to my eyes. Sigh.
In Colorado, though, they’ve created a pleasant union: Urban commerce if you choose it on one side; nature’s big sell on the other. A bunch of us ducked into Rocket Fizz, carrying out bags of retro candy and bottles of soda, brands you can’t find in any old store. Friendly folks stopped to pet the dogs while others waited to regroup to continue the journey.
At the other end, we discovered the light at the end of the tunnel. Both ends, actually, where Estes Park officials had decorated the bridge underpass with attractive and amusing small-panel student artwork.
Jana, Dacia and Drew headed back for some last-day shopping at this point, but the rest of us continued onward.
We spied a fly fisherman working the waters near the bridge. All five days, I’d been speculating that as beautiful as Estes Park is, it’s teetering at the point of too much encroachment on what was there before we came around this land. Who’s to say?
Elisabeth and George decided to turn back to shop, too, but we kept going across a wood bridge to see a sign that proclaimed that we were now on the Lake Estes Trail.
I saw the village’s golf course up close, and on the day I was missing my little weekly golf league back home in Syracuse. But I really wasn’t missing that at all. Too much intrigue in Colorado. My brother-in-law Scott explained to me that the fence around the bird sanctuary kept out the elk, which would otherwise eat the trees and plants needed to house the winged creatures. And the longtime civilian worker for the Army Corps of Engineers also looked over that power plant and figured out how it moved water to other places as needed.
Then we turned around and headed back to meet Elisabeth and George in town for our own last stand at the shops. I figure we’d walked about four miles. I still felt fresh.
Tomorrow: Way, way up
Wednesday: Top of the world
Do you have a walking trail near where you live, and how do you think your governing officials fare at make the most of it? What spot along the trail is your favorite, and why? What picture is your favorite, and why?