Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Estes Park, Rocky Mountain Park and a Ghost Tour at Elk Horn Lodge

Yes, I am still blogging about Colorado. I am nearing the point where I am starting to forget what we did every day, but the pictures remind me of the details. Before I forget about what we did each day, I better continue to crank these posts out, more for our sake and preserving the memories than anything. Perhaps these posts will be useful to future travelers of these areas though!

On Saturday, October 4th, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast at our hotel and then walked around a very quiet Manitou Springs one last time. 
We both felt the need to try the water from a spring, so we filled up three water bottles with the Wheeler Spring water near our hotel. Neither one of us tried the water, we just presumed it was great. On our car ride later that day, Craig took a sip of water and spit it back out. I tried a sip and did the same thing. I guess some of the springs are better than others. Craig's Aunt said that she loves the water from Manitou Springs, but only from specific ones.
We said goodbye to Manitou Springs and drove three hours north, through Denver's traffic jams, through Lyons and on the windy roads to Estes Park. Craig was not fond of the curvy mountain roads at all, so it was a relief to get to flatter land and find our hotel.

We tried to check in early to get rid of our luggage, but had no luck. So, we headed to another hotel, the Stanley. Having just watched The Shining before our trip, we both wanted to see the hotel that Stephen King wrote the story in. I think many tourists assumed the movie was filmed there, but that's not true. We enjoyed walking around the inside of the lobby and taking pictures on the grounds.
After the Stanley, we drove through a very crowded Estes Park downtown area. There was an elk festival going on, so people were everywhere. The restaurants and shops in town didn't really appeal to us. The areas off of the busy main street were pretty though.
Both of us weren't impressed by the reviews on TripAdvisor of many downtown restaurants. We found a pizza place about a mile down the road and walked there instead.

The restaurant, Cheesy Lee's, was in the Elk Horn Lodge. Totally weird name, but the pizza was decent.

Naturally, there were elk walking around right outside the lodge and restaurant.
The lodge was historic and creepy. It was exactly what Craig wanted to see on our trip. Teddy Roosevelt had stayed there at one time and so had Stanley, while his hotel was being built. 
Craig spotted this sign in the restaurant and was intrigued by the fact there could be ghosts there. He spoke to our young waiter, Tristan, about it and Tristan wouldn't shut up about the ghosts he had seen and spooky things that he had personally witnessed. Before we knew it, we were sold on coming back at 8 p.m. that night for a ghost tour with Tristan, who ran his own ghost tour business on the side. I actually was quite nervous about it all, but Craig was so excited. 
After lunch, we went back to our hotel to finally check-in and take a nap. The views from our room were amazing!
Before our ghost tour, we drove to Rocky Mountain Park and purchased our $20 pass for the next two days. We were greeted by huge elk at the entrance, some running literally two feet in front of the car! It was mating season, so strange noises were coming out of the animals and they were everywhere!
We didn't get too far into the park, just enough to see a moose in the woods that had crowds watching it. 
On our way to the Elk Horn Lodge, we were treated to this gorgeous sky.
Once at the lodge, we hung out in the spooky lobby and waited for our tour to start. The tour was ok--Craig loved it, but I was freaked out much of the time. We didn't see any ghosts or experience anything that strange. Tristan told us lots of interesting stories though. At the end of the tour, we ended up in this weird area with a teddy bear that had a ghost detector built in and it made some noises off and on. I was not really in the mood to see a little 8 year old girl ghost that we heard tales of, so I am glad nothing happened!

Later that night, we just planned out our hikes for the next day and prepared the food we were going to bring to keep us fueled all day.

It was a good first day in Estes Park filled with many adventures I didn't anticipate!

1 comment:

  1. Nice travelogue. I haven't been to Colorado in years--makes me miss it (though the ghost tour would probably creep me out too).