Smile #137 – Nice to Meet You, Denver, Colorado! [Part II]

Nice to Meet You, Denver, Colorado!  [Part II] 

We woke up to yet another gloomy day, at least the Denver downtown skyline is still nice.

Say hello to our Jeep Compass!  We picked up our first rental car!  After yesterday’s daunting experience, we researched a bit more about car rentals must-do/must-not-do and tips and tricks.  Now, time to hit the road!

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30 minutes outside of Downtown Denver locates the most phenomenal concert venue.  The surreal rock formation, Red Rock Amphitheater, is nature’s best gift to the music world!    I learned of Red Rocks from a fellow Toastmaster and knew it would be a must visit.

We parked at the foot near the Trading Post and hiked up to the top of the stage.  On our way up, we witnessed a small wedding in progress!  How beautiful is that?!  Exchanging vows in front of the stunning red rocks adds a nice touch of nature.

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The energy at the park is infectious.  It is like Disneyworld for runners and people looking for a challenging workout.  Some are running the steps, some are jumping the steps, some are squatting between each steps.  The most impressive is definitely this little boy no more than the age of 8 or 9.  His mom was running the each row.  He was ahead of her by a few steps.  When he got tired of waiting for his mom, he would do push up with his leg elevated on the higher steps.  Perfect formation and all, I wish I had that kind of strength!

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Bubble and I both agreed how epic it would be to attend a concert in this venue.  An natural surround sound system made with rocks.  Bad Company and Joe Walsh are tonight’s performing guest, but we rather wait until a band of our interest is playing.  Reason to return here again, right?!  🙂

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Behind the theater is the entrance to a Performer’s Hall of Fame.  The corridor displayed a timeline of all musicians that had share the Red Rock Stage from the beginning of times to today.  So many great artists played on this stage, from highly acclaimed Beatles and Bruce Springsteen to recent artists Daft Punk and the Fray.

We left just in time before the rain began.  On to our next stop, Rocky National Park!

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Surprisingly the rain held up when we arrived at Este Park.  The small gateway town is lined with unique arts and antiques country stores.  We found wooden watches, handcrafted metal cut statues, and plenty of souvenirs.

Before we head up the mountain, we grabbed lunch at a small restaurant tucked away in the corner, Casa Grande Mexican Restaurant.  We were surprised at the quality of the food.  Delicious and fresh!

The drive to the Rocky National Park was quite scenic.  Snowcapped Rocky Mountain peaked through the cloudy sky.  Bubble was super excited for the view!  As his second commander, I was in charge of taking photos.  Here are a few:

Warning signs with elks crossing are installed along the way.  We found a few casually standing on the side of the road.  What a rare opportunity..or not!

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When we arrived at the entrance, the park ranger waved us by and let us enter the park for free.  Guess it is a free trip for us!

As we ascend the mountain, the view became more and more spectacular.  Along the way, we found a group of white tailed deers gather in the open field.  The drive is full of incredible overlooks offering views into the quiet forest.

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We did not expected to see snow was still around.  Snow packed on the side of the road so tall that is over Bubble’s head.  He looked short next to it!

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Trail Ridge Road has not opened for the season.  The road was blocked at Rainbow Curve. This was a perfect stop.  It provided magnificent view of the majestic scenery of Rocky Mountain.

A little chipmunk was spotted running between rocks.  He was quite the celebrity!  Everyone wanted to touch him.  A lady extended her hands and when the chipmunk came close and realized there was no food, he bite her finger.  Bubble really wanted a picture of him.  He tempted the chipmunk to come over and I was in charged of taking a pic of him…except when it got closer, I got scared and missed the photo opportunity.   The chipmunk ran off and Bubble was bummed out.

Although the road is closed to vehicles, it is open for pedestrian.  We hiked up the hill.  It is picture perfect from every angle.  I guess the temperature was too cold. Both of our iPhones died.  Who knew iPhones are afraid of the cold?!

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Like clockwork, rain/ice/snow started at exactly 5:30.  We hopped back in the car and head down. What a day it has been!  We witnessed two of Mother nature’s best gifts!  🙂

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