I had been threatening my family with a solo vacation for the past four years. With mounds of stress laughing at me while weighing down my shoulders, not to mention I’m the only female in my household (husband and two sons), I decided to stop the threats and take action.
I had a few vacation spots in mind, but I decided on a mountain destination getaway. It was my first choice from the beginning, and I am still in awe over the majestic views of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
Where did I stay? See if you can guess by the picture.
If you guessed YMCA, then you are absolutely correct! I recently spent 5 days, 4 nights at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. At 8,010 ft. elevation, and 360-degree majestic mountain views, I was in no hurry to return home.
I wanted both adventure and tranquility on my vacation, and the Y offers both.
I spent a week at the YMCA of the Rockies several years ago, but it was for training for my job. But not this time. No learning team-building skills, de-escalation techniques, and participating in obstacle courses. I vowed back then to return one day. And I did. August 22-26, 2014.
What did I do?
I spent time at the Design & Craft Center, two days in a row. I made bracelets and earrings. That place is addicting. Thousands of beads and charms to make jewelry. T-shirt design. Pottery. Any and every craft for all ages, both male and female. There were no popsicle sticks for birdhouses like the one I made when I went to a YMCA summer camp as a child.
I didn’t get a chance to go hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, but I did go horseback riding. Jackson Stables is located on the property, and they even cater to beginning riders (like myself). The trails are on the Y’s property, then you cross over into the amazingly beautiful RMNP. By the way, the Y is bordered on three sides by RMNP.
I also had a hot stone massage.
I didn’t get a chance to zip line, play kickball, shoot that bow and arrow, and a lot of other activities the Y offers, but I did get lots of rest. I rested between each activity. I did nothing but rest on my last full day.
I walked the labyrinth. It took me 12 minutes to get to the center, walking at a slow pace.
I also got plenty of exercise. At 8,010 ft. elevation, I huffed and puffed to each destination. I was fine though, because I already knew what to expect at a high altitude. I also knew to drink a lot of water. All that walking paid off. I stepped on the scale when I got home. 5.5 pounds lighter!
Estes Park offers a free shuttle service, so I caught the bus and went souvenir shopping down in the village. There are so many stores, and they are not chain stores like JC Penney and Macy’s. The streets were packed with tourists. Luckily I found everything I needed at one store, just a few feet away from the shuttle bus stop. I was not about to get lost in all that hustle and bustle.
Whenever I go on a vacation, I like to eat something different. Since I did my homework about Estes Park before my arrival, I knew that I would pay a visit to the Grubsteak Restaurant, known for its’ steaks and wild game. And wild game is what I was after.
I caught the trolley to the restaurant for lunch, which stops right at their door.
I ate a swiss and bacon elk burger, and potato salad. I drank a Maui’s cooler (Captain Morgan, Peach Schnapps, orange juice, and grenadine). That was my first time eating elk, and I loved it.
I took lots of pictures, but I stopped after I realized the mountains did not want their pictures taken. The pictures didn’t turn out how they should have. They were taken on bright, sunny days. Most of the pictures look dark and gloomy. That’s probably because you have to see the Rocky Mountains in person in order to appreciate its’ beauty.
I took the picture below while I was at the Craft & Design Center making a silk scarf. If you look up into the sky, you may be able to see a second rainbow.
I truly enjoyed myself out in the Rocky Mountains, and I would love to return to Colorado someday. Permanently. Maybe after retirement? Hmmm it’s a possibility.