Thursday, July 15, 2010

Horses and Ghosts

Sarah (age 20) and Dylan (age 13) at one of the entrances to our resort

Day Six, Wednesday: Around the Resort

Ed didn’t feel very well on Wednesday, so after running a few errands in the morning we elected to stay close to the condo. He slept for most of the afternoon and, I admit, I napped for a few hours myself. I love vacations that have room for flexibility and relaxation!
The bridge over the river near our condo

The Big Thompson River flowing right behind our building.

We rented some movies and games to enjoy while we kicked back all day. Toward dusk, Sarah, Dylan, and I gave Ed some quiet time while we explored the grounds of the resort. One of my favorite things about WorldMark Estes Park is the Big Thompson River flowing directly behind our condo. It’s beautiful. I could easily fall asleep to the sound of its rushing waters every night for the rest of my life!

Mary on the banks of the river

Sarah and Dylan wrestle alongside the Big Thompson.

Sarah and Dylan play a short game of tetherball. That’s our condo on the right behind them.

At the end of our explorations, we were walking back along the river from the other side of the property when we realized there were two large bull elks grazing just across the water from us. I tried and tried, but it was too dark by then to get a good picture of them. Still, we had fun following them along the bank and watching them.

One of the bull elks is barely visible on the right in this night shot.

Day Seven, Thursday: Horses and Ghosts

Thankfully, Ed was feeling much better today so we were able to do some of the activities we’d planned. We began with a horseback ride first thing this morning.

Ed, Mary, Sarah, and Dylan on their trusty steeds!
(Mary rode Bucket, Sarah rode Raymond, and Dylan rode Big Mac. Ed never learned his horse’s name.)

Dylan, ever the athlete, is a natural on horseback.

Our wrangler-guide Amy led us high up into the mountains over some pretty rough terrain. I thought it was exciting. Sarah said it’s her last horse ride. Ever. We actually climbed almost 1,000 feet higher into the mountains, to an altitude of more than 8,000 feet.

The view from 8,000 feet before we headed downward to cook’s camp.

After about an hour and forty-five minutes on horseback, we arrived at the cook’s camp where we feasted on scrambled eggs, sausage, and pancakes. Believe me, we were famished by then!

Dylan, Mary, and Ed have breakfast in the clean mountain air.

We followed a shorter route back to the stables, which led us over gentler hills and took only half an hour. I’m actually not too sore, which surprises me after more than two hours on horseback! Especially since it’s been 2 years since I last rode.

Sarah joins us for breakfast while Dylan takes the picture.

We returned to the condo for a quick nap (since we got up so early for our ride), and then we headed to the HUGE Stanley Hotel to take a “History and Ghosts Tour.” Ed was interested in the history and I was interested in the ghosts—well, I was actually interested in the hotel’s connection to the book and movie versions of The Shining.

The Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King’s book The Shining, is in Estes Park.

Many of the people on the tour seemed to truly enjoy it. Several obviously believed the hotel is haunted and claimed to experience the presence of something otherworldly. Ed did his best not to scoff openly throughout the tour. He was disappointed with the small amount of history covered in more than an hour and a half. I was disappointed that we weren’t able to enter some of the more famous “haunted” rooms. There was much more tell than show. This was mostly because there was a TV crew at the hotel, filming in those “hot spots.” Overall, neither of us can recommend the tour too highly.

The Stanley Hotel

I was interested to learn that the theatrical version of the book, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, was not filmed at the Stanley. However, Stephen King hated that version and filmed his own miniseries of The Shining at the Stanley, starring Steven Weber and Rebecca de Mornay (I preferred the miniseries myself). I was also surprised to find out that 3 scenes from Dumb and Dumber were filmed at the Stanley. Dumb and Dumber is not one of my favorite movies! (Although my boys do think it’s hilarious.)

Our melodramatic guide in front of Room 217, where Stephen King stayed while working on The Shining.

After the tour, Ed took us to get root beer floats at Hayley’s Ice Cream Parlor. We all agreed that was much more fun than the tour!

Dylan and Ed wait for our floats.

Now we’re back at the condo. Ed is making us his specialty, chicken enchiladas, while I type and the kids watch TV. How can you not love a man who cooks for you?! Once Sarah and Dylan have done dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, we look forward to a quiet evening and a visit to the pool and hot tub. What a lovely vacation this has become!


Jill said...

That food 8000 feet up must have tasted SOOOO good! And your man cooks too?? You deserve the pampering Mary!

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