To Granby

by

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The car rental place only opened at 9, so we didn’t get out of Denver as soon as we normally would have. We started off toward Estes Park, thinking to go to Rocky Mountain National Park, but I had seen warnings about congestion at the east side entrances, so we decided to go to the west side instead. Probably not the best idea, after we had already put a number of miles on the car: we had to loop back considerably further to the south to get around the mountains. But we did have the opportunity to drive through some really pretty country. Stopped at Golden Gate canyon state park for great views from a panoramic point. We would have stopped at Black Hawk or Central City, but they seem to be 100% casinos with no free parking.

The road from Idaho Springs climbs to Berthoud pass, open, sunny, windy and cold! But beautiful.

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Lots of bikies around. Here is a pair getting jacketed up for the fast descent.

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We arrived in Granby early afternoon, found a motel, signed up for two nights, so we don’t have to mess around with lodging tomorrow. There is a forest service information office here, where a very pleasant fellow gave us some maps and some advice. We adopted his suggestion to do the hike around Monarch lake, not too far north from Granby.

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The trail is very popular, and there is a small info stand at the parking lot, where we got a map and watched the hummers swarming around a feeder.

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This is a small lake, about 4 miles around. We’re starting at 3:15, so that’s just about right. By the time we get back and drive back into town, we will be hungry.

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The Colorado state flower is the blue columbine. Very pretty!

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Around on the far side is an old steam engine. It could have been used to winch logs down from the mountain, maybe onto lake boats, or it could have been used to run a sawmill, or maybe both. I suppose it would be possible to find out with a little research.

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A downy woodpecker, not far away, but moving fast enough that it was hard to get a good shot.

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And swarms of gnats. Just amazing how dense they were. If they were biting insects, this area would be completely uninhabitable.

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Our friend from the forest service told us there were osprey nests along the lakeshore drive, and we watched for them as we drove out. Pretty special; no visibility of chicks, but there is certainly some kind of family situation in progress here. Great!

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Granby is a small town, a bike shop, a home-brewing shop, three Mex restaurants along with two or three other kinds of restaurant. We tried Maverick’s grill, which also had Mex cuisine, along with other choices such as burgers and elk sausage. Ok, but nothing to brag about.

Then a quick trip to the laundromat, where we did what we could to be spiffy for tomorrow’s trail.

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