The Most Beautiful Music

Both Bill and I grew up in the Midwest where winters are cold and snowy. You would think, therefore, that we would be used to bone-chilling temperatures and shoveling snow. Alas, we both hate it, Bill even more than I. Hence, a house in AZ. Unfortunately, we didn’t get there soon enough.

A few weeks ago, my sister Jen and I planned our annual trip to Rocky Mountain National Park to listen to the haunting and beautiful sound of the male elks bugling for their mate. Well, MATES, actually, since they don’t seem happy unless they have a whole herd. Greedy little devils. When we made our plans, the sun was shining and the temperature was in the mid-70s.

About a week ago, it became abundantly clear that fall was making itself known, and winter was just around the corner. Our lovely weekend was threatened by the forecast of snow and cold temperatures. I know I’ve been whining for a week now about the cold, but the forecast was for truly COLD temperatures — highs in the teens.

We considered canceling. After all, part of the fun is sitting on the car at dusk and listening to the beautiful mating calls, then returning to the Deercrest Inn, lighting up the firepit, and drinking a cuppa hot chocolate spiked with Fireball whiskey. All of that would be considerably less fun if the temperature was 12 degrees.

We didn’t actually make a final decision until Friday, when the forecasters were telling us that Saturday would be in the 60s, and wouldn’t turn cold until around dusk. Snow, they promised, would soon follow, the amount of which they are always vague. Very vague.

We decided to risk it. With the help of a rental SUV that had solidly good tires and all wheel drive, Bill and I drove to Estes Park, where we met up with Jen. After a quick trip to purchase the essential taffy, we returned to the Deercrest Resort and enjoyed the warm(ish) fall temperatures, with the help of some wine and (as the temperatures began to drop) the firepit…..

It is never unusual to see a lot of elk this time of year, as they come down from the high mountains to the more clement weather to graze and hook up. This big bull elk was hanging out all by himself at the Deercrest. He was clearly old and fairly crippled, so I think he was glad to get away from the youngsters’ shenanigans and enjoy some peace and quiet. All that bugling and testosterone, doncha know. It wears on one’s nerves…..

We made it into the park and though it took a bit of hunting and the help of a park ranger, we were able to locate a herd of elk. In addition to the mating calls, we were just a few feet away from a battle between two young bull elks…..

And Sunday morning, we woke up to a temperature of 12 and this…..

We all made it home safely, with another year of elk bugling under our belt. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

I could live forever without the snow, however.

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.

Rocky Mountain Songs

As I mentioned the other day, for all intents and purposes, Bill and I are homeless. Not homeless as in having no access to shelter; homeless as in no access to our own home. It’s a good thing, really, because it means that progress is being made and our remodel is in its last days.

We left for Estes Park on Sunday after church. While we were gone, Joe continued sanding the floors. Today is Tuesday, and he is still sanding the floors. Needless to say, progress isn’t going as quickly as I’d hoped. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will be able to finish up the sanding this evening and maybe even begin staining.

By the way, I don’t think I’ve mentioned that Joe (who, I might add, is doing a very good job on the sanding, and believe me, Bill keeps close watch) can only work in the evening because he has a daytime job. It is making things go a bit slower, unfortunately.

In the meantime, our house is virtually unusable. The path to my washer and dryer is completely blocked by furniture. My refrigerator is in the hallway between the kitchen and the family room. It is plugged in, so we have access to food. It doesn’t do us a lot of good, however, since the doors are off on my ovens (they had to be removed to move the refrigerator out of the kitchen), so I am unable to cook. We are currently living in our bedroom.

Bill and I enjoyed our brief visit to Estes Park, however. We spent a bit of time walking downtown, where we made the mandatory taffy stop…..

We ate dinner Sunday night at a restaurant that has been a part of Estes Park as long as I can remember called Nicky’s. I enjoyed Rocky Mountain trout…..

……and finished up our first evening listening to the elk bugle, one of my favorite activities in the fall. It was a beautiful night, and the elk thought so too……

We woke up early on Monday, had a few cups of the pretty bad coffee offered in the room, then prepared to go someplace for breakfast. As Bill took his shower, I took my cup of coffee out onto our deck to enjoy the early morning, and was greeted by a 12-point bull elk munching away just below our second floor patio. It wasn’t long before he was joined by two of his closest buddies….

It was a sight to behold. The owner of the Deercrest Resort (where Bill and I stayed) came out to chat a bit and told me that they are there almost every morning in the fall. Either they have already gathered their harem or they prefer the company of one another. I don’t care, because they gave me a good show.

We returned last night to Denver because I had an appointment in the afternoon, and spent the evening in our room watching The Voice with the background noise of a sanding machine.

Day at a time….

Guest Post: Estes Park-It’s Not Just For Taffy Anymore

By Rebecca Borman

I’ve said it before…while it’s really fun to travel to new places, it’s also nice to go back to places you love.  For me and my sisters, one of those comfortable places is Estes Park, Colorado.  The drive through the Big Thompson Canyon is stunning, and the first view of Estes Park, nestled in the midst of the Rockies, always lifts my heart.  In a way, it’s like coming home.  Our family vacationed there when I was a child, my honeymoon was there, and there have been many more visits after that.  This summer, in the midst of my Colorado road trip, my sisters and I worked in a few days’ trip to Estes.  Kris and Jen are busy women, so each could only stay two nights.  But, I was there for three nights, and Friday evening we were there together.  We all made the most of our time…..

Kris and I enjoyed a walk around Bear Lake.

A visit to Estes Park always involves some familiar and important activities.  For instance, the first evening, Kris and I had a cookout at our motel.  And when I say we, I mean Kris.  She brought the steaks, lit the grill, and cooked the steaks.  Well, I did toss the bag of Caesar salad!  We even ate outside at a picnic table by the river, enjoying the view of the mountains surrounding us as the evening set in…..

Another must for us is dinner at the Dunraven Inn, a lovely Italian restaurant that has been in Estes Park for years.  We ate there after Jen arrived on Friday night so we could have dinner together.  I thought it would be fun to take Uber or a cab so we could enjoy our cocktails without worrying about driving back to our motel. I tried Uber…seems there is one driver who may or may not be on duty at any particular time.  Hmmm.  Then I checked for taxi companies.  There is only one, and I mean one cab, not just one company.  We called for our taxi and were put into the driver’s que, third in line.  We made it to the restaurant almost on time.  Our driver assured us that while he was going off duty soon, another driver would be driving the cab.  We asked the Dunraven to call for the taxi as we finished dinner, and we patiently waited for it outside.  We waited quite a while, wondering what we would do if the taxi never showed up.  Finally, we saw it coming toward us.  And driving right past us.  That didn’t seem good!  We hoped he was dropping off someone, and that was the case, because he pulled up a few minutes later.  “I saw you waiting here,” he said.  “I bet you got worried when I drove past.”  Haha, yes we did.

The next morning we tried something new, a trip to Cinnamon’s Bakery, which makes one thing only:  cinnamon rolls.  We got there just before it opened at 7:30, and there was already a long line.  We happily bought our rolls and coffee to take back to our room.  The bakery is open until 10:00 or until they sell out.  When we drove past it around 9:00, the CLOSED sign was on display.  It paid to get there early.

Our next adventure was a drive into Rocky Mountain National Park.  As we started toward the Park we noticed that some streets were blocked off, presumably having to do with the Scottish Festival being held that weekend.  We wondered if there was a parade.  We didn’t think much about it as we enjoyed a drive through some of our favorite areas of RMNP.  When we left the Park we had a plan.  We would find parking near downtown and do some important shopping, primarily for our favorite salt water taffy.  However, police blockades prevented us from turning into town.  We asked a kilted police officer who was directing traffic what was going on.  It was, as we suspected, a parade.  Elkhorn Drive would be blocked completely until the parade was over.  Wait a minute…our motel was on Elkhorn Drive.  “You mean we can’t get back to our motel?” we asked.  “Not until the parade is over.”  Bummer.  Now what?  Plan B was to buy deli sandwiches and go back to RMNP for an impromptu picnic.  We found a good spot by the river and enjoyed our sandwiches al fresco.  It was a good Plan B!….

At that point Kris had to leave, so Jen and I were on our own.  We both wanted to hear the elk bugling at dusk. So after we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon at our motel, we drove back into the Park.  We found a spot near a meadow that seemed to have elk potential, and we weren’t disappointed.  We saw many elk, including a bull with a 16-point rack.  Very cool.  There’s something special about the sound of their bugling and the feel of the crisp fall air as darkness falls upon the mountains.  It was an evening well spent…..

As always, I felt a pang of regret when I drove out of Estes Park the next morning.  I had purchased my taffy and a few Christmas ornaments, and they would serve as my reminders of these few days in one of the most beautiful spots in the world.

I’ll be back again next year.

Thursday Thoughts

Controlled Chaos
We literally came home from our sisters’ weekend in Estes Park to a house full of children. Don’t worry; I knew them all. Court and his wife had asked if we would watch their three kids for a couple of days while they had a relaxing getaway in celebration of his birthday. I agreed. The only caveat was that when they got dropped off Monday morning, I wouldn’t be there. Instead, Papa Bill would be the babysitter. I called in reserves, asking Addie if she would come help her Papa with the kids. When Bec and I walked in the door Monday just before noon, the house was in relatively controlled chaotic shape, and Bill had a bit of a deer-in-the-headlights look on his face. But the kids were happy and having a great time. I got there just in time to make lunch. After that, Addie once again took over. I will tell you that after Mom picked up the kids Wednesday morning, I turned on mindless television and proceeded to fall asleep.

The other thing that took place Wednesday morning was that Bec, who has been visiting for a few weeks to escape the Arizona heat, left to head home. After the kids were gone and Bec was on the road, the house was like a morgue. Once I get a bit of my wind back, I will start housecleaning and doing laundry. In the meantime, however, I got a pedicure. Ah, pedicures….

Hot Time
A couple of days ago, in the midst of the madness from unpacking from our Estes trip and being hit, oops, I mean blessed, with the grandchildren, a Murphy’s law situation happened. Suddenly late in the afternoon, I realized that I was perspiring so much that I looked like Albert Brooks in the movie Broadcast News. I went over to the thermostat, and noticed that not only was the temperature not going down, it was in fact going up, up, and up. I went over to the vent and felt tepid air coming out. Though we placed a call early next morning to the air conditioning company, they only made it to our house yesterday afternoon. As I write this blog post, I am comfortably cool. Sorry to everyone who had to endure our heat wave, especially at night.

At the Zoo
On Tuesday, Bec and I took some of the grands to the Denver Zoo, including Addie to provide moral and physical support. It was quite hot, and we were all worn out by time we made it all around the zoo. I had packed a lunch for everyone, and we enjoyed it in the shade. But just before we left, I treated all the kids to Dippin’ Dots. They were all very happy, and I was once again puzzled as to why anyone likes Dippin’ Dots. Here are some of the precious faces….

Cole on carousel

There was a great deal of discussion about who would ride on which animal. I’m not sure Cole had much input. He just needed to be on an animal near his sisters and cousins so that Addie could keep a watchful eye. The dolphin it was…


Mylee Maggie Faith

Mylee and Maggie Faith find a shady hidey-hole.


kaiya cole

And so do Kaiya and Cole.

kaiya maggie funny faces



Redrum, Flip Flops, and Other Distractions

There are a few things you can count on: death, taxes, and the Gloor sisters leaving their mark on wherever they visit.

This time it was Estes Park, Colorado.

We have been visiting this mountain community since we were in dirndls and Mary Janes, and know it like the backs of our hands. Even so, we find ways to dig up new adventures.

Jen, who still has to deal with that nasty distraction called a job, didn’t arrive until Friday evening, so Bec and I had an afternoon to kill. The weather was overcast, but we took a quick drive into Rocky Mountain National Park anyway so that I could try out my shiny new Senior Parks Pass — the single good thing about turning 62. Ten bucks for a lifetime national parks pass. Smokin’ deal.

Bec mentioned she had never been inside the Stanley Hotel — the haunted hotel made famous by the 1980 movie The Shining. I, on the other hand, had spent one long night many years ago during a work-related three-day meeting. I’m not proud to admit that I was so terrified after one night that I requested permission to sleep in another hotel the next two nights! Upon hearing my story, Bec asked “What was it that scared you?” “Someone walking down the hallway at 3 in the morning,” I told her. When I realized how dumb that sounded, I quickly added, “and some rattling chains.” You had to be there.

Anyhow, we went to the Stanley and had an It’s-5-O’clock-Somewhere martini at the very cool Cascade Whiskey Bar off the lobby. No twins chanting redrum, I’m happy to say, and the martini was cold (and not from ghostly drafts).

Whiskey Bar
 We grilled enormous rib eye steaks that night after Jen arrived and finished the day with Fireball whiskey shots after a toast to our absent brother.
We woke up Saturday morning to more overcast skies, but took a stab at finding a precious parking spot at Bear Lake in RMNP. The angels were smiling upon us and we pulled up just as a car left, so we got the opportunity to walk around Bear Lake in homage to our mother. Mom was not a hiker, but she loved the mountains and this particular walk was one of her favorites. And for good reason because the terrain is flat and the scenery is spectacular. Cheers, Mom…
Bec Jen Kris Bear Lake
 We spent a quiet rest of the day watching hummingbirds battle for what they don’t seem to realize is an endless supply of nectar as provide by the Deer Crest Lodge’s staff. Another nod to Mom, because she loved hummingbirds. I, on the other hand, do not. A bit too darty for me. We ended the day with Italian food and Fireball shiskey shots around the fire pit which we shared with others also enjoying the fire, with a toast to our absent brother.
Deer Crest
 Jen left after church and breakfast, and Bec and I took a drive to nearby Allenspark to visit a Native American jewelry shop we learned about from our friends around the previous night’s campfire, told to us in appreciation for sharing our Fireball. But before we reached the shop, we stopped at Lilly Lake and walked the perimeter. There are few things we haven’t seen in the Estes Park area and this was one. It was beautiful….
Lilly Lake
Bec and I concluded our last full day in Estes by visiting the Alluvial Fan, a rocky waterfall resulting from the 1982 Lawn Lake Flood of Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. The trail, we recalled, was short — a mere .3 miles up to the waterfall. We don’t need no stinking closed-toed shoes.
Alluvial Fan
For the most part, we didn’t. But right at the end of the short trail, it gets quite rocky and a bit vertical. We were okay, but certainly the flip-flops we were wearing wouldn’t have been the shoe of choice for real hikers. We got up to the top. As we enjoyed the view, a young couple came down from their close-up view of the waterfall. The young man jokingly said to us, “Which rock up there are you going to walk to?” We laughed accommodatingly, and pointed to a rock way up above us. His friend, a young woman, looked down at our flip-flop-clad feet and said, “Hmmm, looks like you wore your hiking shoes too….” Touche…..
hiking flip flops
At least this time there were no rattlesnakes.
Bye, Estes. See you in the fall during bugling season!