Friday, July 26, 2013

Estes Park Day Four, Featuring, Cowpoke Corral, Rocky Mountain Gateway Restaurant, Dorothy's Catering and Green Jeep Tours!


What a fun and exciting...yet tiring, day we had today!!  This whole week has been SO jam packed with things to do!  I can't see how anyone can take a mere four days to spend here.  There is just TOO much!  So...we are hoping that someone will have room tomorrow night too!  Just ONE more day......actually I could spend a lot more than one more day, but since we're here....  :-)

The day started with us going to Lake Estes and renting a pontoon boat at the Lake Estes Marina.  They are very helpful there.  We've gone to the lake everyday since it is right across the street from our hotel, and everyday we've been in the marina for something or other, and they've always been super friendly!  Anyway, we rented a pontoon boat for an hour.  The adults and older child would have liked to have gone longer....but the younger ones, an hour was more than enough.  No fish...not even a bite...but they all had fun just trolling around the lake.  I particularly liked looking at the scenery and enjoying God's GREAT creation.
 After the pontoon boat we headed back in and rented more things.  Jake and Jeff took out a Kayak, as his arms weren't hurting from yesterday, but mine were since I was climbing a lot of rocks.
 MaKenna, Major, Cam and I took out the Paddleboat since my legs didn't hurt!  It worked out perfectly, except MaKenna pooped out way too soon...which then MADE my legs hurt...and Jake pooped out on Jeff too soon too...which made his arms hurt....making both mom and dad hurting all over!

 After Jeff and I felt like Jello....we walked back to the hotel, got our things and headed out to the Rocky Mountain Gateway, Trailblazer Restaurant.  It is just outside the gates to the National Park.  It was a short drive there, but a beautiful drive.  The Rocky Mountain Gateway had an incredible two story store also.  They also have a visitor center and stables too!  Lots of great things to look at, and attached to the store was the Trailblazer Restaurant.

Yum....that is all I need to say about this restaurant!  We sat outside because we have always found that when the weather is nice, with the kids, it is best to sit outside because they don't seem to bother the patrons as much!  :-)  The kids love to be outside, and we had a spectacular view!
 There was also a neat telescope thing that cost .25 cents.  I gave each child a quarter and that kept them busy until the food got there!
 The food was VERY tasty!  Cam had the Mountain Man burger, which has every type of meat imaginable!  Deer, Elk, Moose, Bison, you name it...it was in it!  He loved it!  Everyone else gobbled up their food very quickly.  The service was great too.  I had a nice chat with our waitress.  It seems that most people I have spoken to are only here seasonally.  Our waitress was moving on after the season too.  They were all very friendly though!  Our bill was a bit high, but with the service, the scenery and the type of food, it was well worth it.  But with a family of 6, plan on spending around $80 with the tip.  Be sure to like them on facebook here!  Then go have a burger!!  A MOUNTAIN MAN BURGER!!  :-)

After Trailhead Restaurant, we headed toward Cowpoke Corner Corral for horse back riding.  MaKenna LOVES riding horses.  I used to...and still do, but it has been quite some time since I have ridden.


Of course I get the horse that is gentle and has NEVER spooked to the knowledge of the tour guides...and what does he do?  He spooks.  We aren't sure what he saw...but he saw something he didn't like.  That was only a blip though.  The rest of the ride he was wonderful as were MaKenna and Major's horses.  The guide, Sara, was perfect.  We couldn't have asked for a better guide for us.  She was very sweet and was very interested in all of us and very concerned at our well being like a good guide should be!  She was another one that was only here for the summer.  She will go home in 4 weeks time.  Since major is so young, he had to be tethered to her...but he was just THRILLED beyond belief to get to ride a horse alone...and not in just a circle!  :-)  We also chose the mountain terrain which was a little bit more difficult....but they did fantastic.  It was an awesome trail, fantastic guide, well kept stables, the horses all looked healthy, clean and happy, and all of the workers were incredibly helpful and friendly.  In fact, we got lost and called 10 minutes AFTER we were supposed to be there.  I felt so bad....but we got there right at 3, and we were supposed to be there at 2:45, but we missed the turn off a couple times.  Anyway, they held the other riders for us so we wouldn't be left behind and they were incredibly helpful in getting us going quickly, but safely.  I have been on many trail rides, and never has a guide stopped to check our saddles.  It was an hour ride, 30 minutes up, 30 minutes down.  When we stopped at the top, Sara got off her horse and checked everyones saddles to make sure they were tight.  This was great customer service in my opinion, especially since my two youngest babies were on the two big horses in front of me.  4 thumbs up!  Wait....I don't have 4 thumbs.  Well...you get the idea!  Make sure you like them on Facebook here!  And then go check them out!!!

After the horses, we headed back downtown where I was meeting my "boss" for US Family Guide.  Her three boys, herself, myself, my husband and our four kids were going on the Green Jeep Tours!!  But first, we had to eat a little something.  Dorothy from Dorothy's Catering, was nice enough to help us out with our hungry bellies!  She fixed up a meat and cheese tray for us!  It was very yummy.  So we had a little picnic dinner before our Green Jeep Tour!  I must say the cheese on the tray was very soft and fresh, and the meat was also very fresh and it tasted wonderful.  The tray was also very nicely put together!  No complaints here!  It filled most of our bellies.  Some of the kids were too excited to go on the jeep to eat!  Of course they were  hungry when we reached our summit though!  :-)


As soon as we were done eating we all climbed into a nice green jeep!  There were ten of us, so it was tight, but well worth it!


Bob was our guide.  Let me tell you, Bob knows his stuff.  He was very knowledgable and I learned quite a lot from him about Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, animals, everything.  He was lucky enough to have me sit in front with him!  :-)  Lucky...or unlucky!  :-)  I have a tendency to talk a lot and ask a lot of questions.  He may have wished one of the kids had set up front!  :-)  Bob took us to the Stanley Hotel first.  The history of that hotel is outstanding.  Stephen King actually stayed in one of the haunted rooms, and left after only 3 hours, as well as Jim Carrey (when they filmed Dumb and Dumber).  The Stanley Hotel was not the location of the Shining, but it WAS the location of the Shining Mini-series.  They wanted to film the Shining there, but they couldn't get Safeway out of the picture.  Dumb and Dumber WAS filmed there though!  :-)
Next we headed toward the park.  Bob would take several pit stops along the way to explain things to us.  Very interesting things.  I won't share all the details here because you need to go yourself.  Very worth it!  We saw some Elk and Deer, I was hoping for a BigHorn Sheep, but I didn't get that lucky.




What I didn't realize is that we were going to the very top on Falls River Road.  It is a one way road, that has no guard rail, is dirt and is VERY steep on one side.  LONG WAY DOWN in other words.  Very exciting!  The kids weren't sure what to think!  It made for a beautiful drive though!  As we got closer to 13,000 it got colder and colder.  We finally put the heat on in the cab....a lot of that had to do with the fact that I had given up my hoodie for the kids who were in the back of the jeep freezing though.  They had jackets too...but it got chilly up there.  Bob said the temperature at the top has NEVER gotten above 63 degrees....I think that was the number he gave me.  We talked a little about lightning too and I was floored to find out that there are 22,000 lightning strikes up there a day!  YIKES!  So....if you see a storm rolling in and your up those mountains....RUN!






If you are anywhere near Estes Park, you must take this tour.  Worth every penny!  Be sure to like them on facebook here!  Then head up the hill and check them out yourselves!

After that, we were tired.  We made it back to the hotel with enough time to swim for thirty minutes before the pool closed.  Everyone fell asleep while the Disney Channel was on, which is outrageous.  Apparently they had a very tiring day!

Thanks to all of the businesses that allowed us to check out what you have to offer your community and visitors!

VISIT ESTES PARK!  It won't let you down!  
I PROMISE!

*No money was exchanged for these posts.  I was given discounts and deals in exchange for my honest opinion.  All of the opinions in this post are mine*

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