Estes Park Day Three, Featuring Red Rose Rock Shop, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Village Pizza
We had a great time today! We are POOPED though! As I said in previous posts, we ran into some friends up here from Omaha. So today, we went hiking with them! We chose to do a trail that was supposed to be a "moderate" hike. It ended up being a bit more than we thought, but we all survived and had a great time. We are all a bit sore tonight, but I think it was worth it to see the beautiful landscape, the views, everything was awesome about it. We went to the Gem Lake Trailhead. It was about a mile and a half up and a mile and a half down. It took us roughly 3 hours to do the hike and hangout on top for a little while at the lake. As is usual for the Filleman's we didn't always stay on the trail...we like to go off the beaten path a little bit. Here is Major doing JUST that.
Some of the breathtaking beauty. Pictures NEVER do scenery justice.
Surprisingly even the little people did fantastic. Major didn't start complaining until we were more than halfway down. They were troopers. Here is MaKenna holding up a big boulder even!
More of God's absolute beauty.
All but one of the kids made it into this picture. From bottom to top is MaKenna, Olivia, Major, Collin and Cam.
Prior to this trip we didn't know the Price's THAT well. Cam and Collin have played hockey together for YEARS...so our families have known eachother, but we've never REALLY talked much about more than hockey. We found out that we have a lot in common and I can say that I really enjoyed our time with the Price's. Here is Cory and I.
Boys will be boys. They love to explore.....
I always said MaKenna was a bit of a monkey.
It was nice to see Jeff talking to someone other than me too. He is very much a home body....which is fine...but I enjoyed seeing Roger and Jeff get to know each other also! I think they got along very well!
The longer I am here and the more I look at God's creation, the more I am in awe of what He has made for us, His children. I was raised in the mountains, but I don't think you appreciate it as much when you live there. We've been flatlanders now for the past 15 years, so when we come back, we truly realize what God has created and the beauty of it all.
On the record....my future house.
The white building below with the red roof is the Stanely Hotel. It is where the Shining was filmed. It is also supposed to be haunted. They have tours that they take. We haven't done that yet...but I sure would like to!
Here is Olivia and MaKenna hiding from their daddy's.
This is Paul Bunyons boot. I really don't know why it is called that....I mean obviously it looks like a boot...but why it is Paul Bunyons, I don't know.
This is balancing rock.
Loving me some Aspens....
The Alpacas were on their way down the mountain. They had been up there maintaining the privy apparently. They were very well behaved, their hair was really matted....but that is the norm. I did learn that Alpacas and Llamas are NOT the same. I always assumed they were the same thing!
Most of the hike wasn't too bad....but the last 10 minutes or so we were walking up some really steep rock steps. Our thighs were SCREAMING. But...we were sure excited when we made it!
We stopped and got snacks and the Chipmunks started hanging out. They actually took the crackers and nuts out of our hands! Here is one of them with part of a cracker.
Once we got to the lake we didn't have a lot of time. The boys took out their fishing poles, but the lake was really shallow....so they saw fish, but they didn't catch any. The reason we didn't have time was because we started hearing thunder....then it started raining pretty good. We all got ponchos out thanks to Roger who comes prepared! :-)
So we started back down after a little fishing, some snacks and a little exploring. Some then had to use the Privy.....they were amazed by the bathroom almost hanging off the side of the mountain.
Going down was much easier....but we used different muscles, which eventually started screaming at us as well. The view was so much more enjoyable though going down!
Once we got to the bottom, we hopped in our vans....and our van wouldn't start. :-( Luckily Roger had long jumper cables and we were able to get going. We headed to their condo, then walked to down town where we ate at Bob and Tony's Pizza. We had heard really great things about it from friends in Omaha. They weren't lying either....it was some very tasty pizza, from what I heard...I had a salad...but everyone else was raving about it!
Then we walked around a little bit more....the kids played in the little river a bit....then we walked back, got the van and headed to the Red Rock Geode Store. But...before that, we had to stop at the horse drawn carriage!
The Red Rose Rock Shop was a neat experience. I am not, nor have I ever been into rocks....but I love to see the world through my kids' eyes and they were just thrilled!
We spent over an hour there. They got to pick out Geodes...they could pick from Utah Geodes, Mexican Geodes, or African Geodes. Once they've picked their favorite (always looking for the lightest in weight as those usually hold the best surprises), they then have someone come over and crack it.
There were some really pretty crystals that came out of their geodes. MaKenna loves hers. They also picked up a couple other little things to take home. Jake and Jeff did some dirt scouring. They bought a bag of dirt...then they dip it in the water and clean it out and there are things in the dirt to discover. They found arrowheads, shark teeth and really pretty rocks! They enjoyed that!
I enjoyed watching them and watching the scenery around me!
If you are in Estes Park, I would really suggest taking a trip to the Red Rose Rock shop. It was a lot of fun. The people were really nice and very helpful and they have some amazing rocks in there. They also have a museum and a dark room to look at rocks that glow in the dark! We had to buy one in fact! The prices were fair, and the kids are STILL talking about their rocks! Make sure you like them on facebook and visit them when you are in town!
By this time the kids were hungry again! On the way to check out Village Pizza, we stopped at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and got half a pound of Good Ole Fashioned Chocolate Fudge, and half a pound of Oreo Fudge. YUM! You can NEVER go wrong with chocolate or fudge! The people in there were incredibly nice and helpful too! Everyone here in Estes Park seem to be super nice! They just seem to really love life here. LOVE IT!
After Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, we headed just across the parking lot to Village Pizza. The kids were a little bit unsure since we had had pizza for lunch, but Village Pizza offers much more than Pizza. In fact, only one of us had pizza. The rest of us ate chicken, or pasta, or wings, salad, etc. It was really good. Very down home, laid back, casual, and the people...once again, were super nice. The prices were very fair also. We even got an appetizer, all of us got drinks and full meals and for the 6 of us, our total was only a little over $50....then we left a $10 tip....so really it was only about $10 a person....not that bad for all the food we had.
We had an incredible day! After dinner, we came back....we swam...we sat in the hot tub and just relaxed. The boys went to Estes Lake and went fishing! They didn't get anything though. Great day! But we will all sleep VERY well tonight!
*There was no money exchanged with any of these business, I was given vouchers to try their products in exchange for an honest review. All of the opinions are mine.*