I met tour guide Doug (a large man wearing a kilt), and the rest of the group at the Denver airport. It wasn’t long before we were exploring Fort Collins, Colorado by bicycle. Doug almost gave some drivers a show when the wind caught his kilt, and it was a great ride that rewarded us with fantastic fresh beer at New Belgium Brewing, Odell, and Funkwerks.
As our first day came to a close, we checked into the Armstrong, in downtown Fort Collins. I was very impressed with our accommodations at the Armstrong, and if you are ever find yourself in Fort Collins I would highly recommend staying there. After freshening up, we enjoy a delightful dinner that offered more beer and the chance to get to know one another.
After a peaceful night’s sleep, we headed to breakfast. Thanks to the Choice City Bakery and Deli I began our first full day with a full belly of Pumpkin French Toast and Boar sausage paired with- what else- a coffee porter!
With breakfast completed we piled into the van and headed to Estes Park for our first day of hiking. Elevation turned out to be a bit of a challenge for me, but thanks to Zephyr’s flexibility and accommodations for nearly all fitness levels, I didn’t feel rushed or pushed beyond my ability.
After an invigorating day of hiking, we headed to the famous Stanley Hotel (inspiration for The Shining). I am happy to report that I did not see or hear any ghosts, but did meet an interesting fellow in the hall who was using his “Ghost Detector” to check doorways for ghosts. He informed me that our hall was ghost free.
Again we spent another great evening laughing and reminiscing about the day’s events, eating flavorful food and sipping on tasty beverages (ok…I’ll admit it; more beer).
After a night of well-deserved rest, we awoke rejuvenated and headed out for a morning hike in Estes Park. I think this was my favorite part of the entire trip. Rebecca (my roommate) and I decided that we were not up for hiking all the way to the Estes Cone so we stayed together on the hike and turned around at the first viewpoint.
Arriving back at the bottom well before anyone else, we found a bench and sat down to enjoy the sunshine that made a special appearance just for us. This would turn out to be one of those memorable moments you never saw coming. I hadn’t laughed so hard in a very long time. We shared stories about cabana boys, gave other travelers directions, and just enjoyed spending a few moments in our new-found paradise.
Lunch was spent in Nederland (home of the Frozen Dead Guy Festival) and then in to Boulder for Oskar Blues Tour and Dinner. Simply delightful!
The next day we explored Boulder from the seat of our bikes. I found Boulder to be beautiful and was wholly impressed with its intricately connected trails. Lunch was served at Boulder Beer Company, and took part in a fantastic beer and food pairing dinner at the newly opened West Flanders Brewing Company.
I have to say that the amazing people (you know who you are) with whom I spent those five days with constitute my most cherished take away from this trip. Newly forged friendships paired with the chance to experience a new location made me realize that Zephyr’s slogan “Life’s short, prioritize adventure” is so spot-on.
Thank you Zephyr…we shall do it again sometime.
This guest post was contributed by Jamie Lynn Morgan. @jamiemorgancda