Mountain Moments

It’s become a tradition of sorts. Bec comes to Colorado each year for a few weeks in the summer to escape the exhausting heat of AZ. And each year, Bec and Jen and I spend a long weekend in Estes Park as part of the itinerary. It’s a tribute to our childhood during which our family vacationed in this village just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park almost every summer of our formative years. But more than that, it’s a chance to escape the busyness of our lives and sit in a comfortable chair by a rushing creek with a glass of wine and talk. And laugh. And cry. And make confessions. And laugh at our confessions.

Oh, and swat bees and douse ourselves with spray to fend off mosquitoes and watch various kinds of wildlife make their way through the motel grounds. This year it was wild turkeys….

We have several Must-Dos when we are in Estes. One, of course, is to visit the taffy shop……

Don’t worry. I actually left some for others to buy.

One night each year we eat dinner at a long-time Estes Park restaurant called the Dunraven Inn. The restaurant features Italian food, and sort of specializes — randomly, perhaps — in seafood.

This year, Jen invited a friend of hers to enjoy dinner with us. Bec and I stewed a bit about whether or not Jen’s friend Karma would be put off by our sense of humor and — quite frankly — our love of good food and wine and great martinis. As it happens, we needn’t have worried, as Karma could have been one of the sisters for all anyone knew. Well, except that she is very tall and has the figure of a fashion model. But other than that…..

Here am I, enjoying my food and delicious martini and NOT looking like a fashion model…..

Our server, though quite congenial, wasn’t stellar. He made up for his incompetence (and quiet speaking voice) with a good attitude. We thought he said his name was Bill, and called him by that name for a good while. Finally, towards the end of the meal, he admitted his name was NOT Bill. “But my brother’s name is Bill,” he added happily. And then proceeded to take several pictures of us, including this one….

As I said, he made up for his shortcomings with good cheer.

Another tradition we have adopted is our annual visit to Cinnamon’s — a bakery featuring the most delicious cinnamon rolls one can imagine. And there is no need to point out that all of our traditions seem to include food. Anyhoo, the proprietor of Cinnamon’s is a retired baker from somewhere in the midwest (Kansas? Missouri?) who lives with his family in Estes. The bakery offers a very limited number of choices — pecan rolls, gluten-free blueberry muffins, one type of fruit roll, and, of course, cinnamon rolls. There is really no need to look further than the cinnamon roll, and most people don’t. The hours during the summer, according to their signage, are “7:30 – 10 or when sold out.” The day we went, I got into line at 7:15…..

…..and brought cinnamon rolls back to the room. When we drove past the restaurant at 8:30, the SOLD OUT sign was already out.

I’m happy to tell you that we do have one tradition that does not involve food. We try our best to walk around Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It isn’t always possible, as Bear Lake is the tipping-off point for many popular hikes so parking is often unavailable. This year, Bec and I found a spot Sunday afternoon around 4, and had just enough time to take a lap around the lake that was one of our mother’s favorites…..

Our time in Estes Park is always one of my most special memories of each year.

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