18 August 2013
Dear readers and friends around the world,
We left South Dakota with its Jewel Caves and Mount Rushmore, and headed to Colorado to stay in Estes Park in the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Paprika and Oregano decided to take the long way around just so we could all get a glimpse of Nebraska. They had never been there before and thought I might like to add it to the collection of places I’ve visited.
Here are Oregano and I standing at the border to Nebraska. (I did briefly wonder whether those are bullet holes in the sign, but I didn’t want to ask. This is almost the Wild West, I believe.) Don’t you just love the slogan, though – “the good life”?!
After 9 hours and 4 states, we finally arrived at our cabin in the Rocky Mountains. It was astounding to watch how vastly the scenery changed. We drove across prairies, through canyons and up windy mountain roads. How diverse!
Our cabin in Estes Park was right on the Big Thompson River. Even with the windows closed we could hear the soothing sound of the water rushing past. It was so relaxing!
The first morning we were there, Paprika made us all a lovely breakfast complete with bacon and eggs, which we ate al fresco on our deck overlooking the river, as the sun streamed onto the deck and warmed us up. While having breakfast, we discussed our adventures for the day.
“Flat Kathy, there is a tram we can take to the top of one of the mountains so that we can get a beautiful view of the whole area. Does that sound like something you’d like to do?” asked Paprika.
“I sure would!” I was already imagining how far I’d be able to see from that height.
After breakfast we headed over to the Estes Park Aerial Tramway. We stood at the foot of the mountain and looked up. This tiny red box was dangling from a cable that carried people all the way to the top of the mountain.
I looked dubiously at my companions. “To be honest, it doesn’t it look all that sturdy,” I remarked. “Are we really going up in that?”
“Of course it is,” declared Oregano, patting me comfortingly. “Lots of people have gone up the mountain on that tram. Don’t worry, it is quite safe.”
“Hmm…” I replied, as we climbed aboard, and the tiny red box began to sway a bit. I thought I’d best offer my friends some support, in case they became fearful. “You can lean on me, Paprika,” I offered, standing very close by her side. She nodded gratefully, as we held onto each other.
“When we get to the top, Flat Kathy, it’s probably going to be quite windy. Please be sure to stick close to me or Oregano,” warned Paprika, as we were pulled along the cable to the top of the mountain.
Once we got off the tram at the top, the views took my breath away. We could see the whole town of Estes Park, a lake and the surrounding mountains. As Paprika had promised, it was definitely windy.
In addition to the magnificent views, Paprika and Oregano had a surprise up their sleeves. There was a gift shop at the top and inside they had a barrel of peanuts, a small scoop and little brown bags. Oregano bought a scoop of peanuts and we headed back outside.
“Are you going to eat all those yourself, Oregano?” I asked, hoping he was planning on sharing them with me.
“These aren’t for us, Flat Kathy. I’ll show you what we’re going to do with them.” I followed Oregano outside.
He pulled a peanut out of the bag and sat down on a large rock. I hadn’t noticed it before, but there were chipmunks scurrying all over the top of this mountain. They look a little like squirrels, but without a long bushy tail.
Oregano sat very still holding the peanut with his fingers. A chipmunk walked right up to him and carefully took the peanut, then ran off to eat it. Paprika took a turn next and another chipmunk grabbed her offering. We took turns feeding the chipmunks until we had finished our bag of peanuts. We enjoyed some more of the scenery, climbed around on some big rocks, then took the tram back down.
“All of this thin mountain air is making it a bit tricky to breathe. Do you mind if we relax on our beautiful deck for a while?” I asked, wheezing slightly.
“That’s a great idea, Flat Kathy. At over 7,500 feet, the air does take some getting used to. We should all take it easy.” Paprika said.
We spent the rest of the beautiful summer afternoon relaxing on the deck of our cabin, listening to the water rushing past, while admiring the views of the mountains. It was the last day of our trip, and we knew that our time together would be coming to an end soon.
Yours in flatness and love,