Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 14 & 15- Steamboat Springs

Day 14: September 28th 2010, Tuesday

I woke up this morning and opened the door to take Hanz for his morning walk. When I looked outside of the travel trailer I was stunned by the incredible fall foliage. It's funny but this is the first place I've seen fall colors for a while, and it was intense. Bear and Rayne, like I said, live up on a mountain that overlooks Steamboat Springs. Nobody lives behind them so you can literally walk outside and start hiking up into the hills. I want to live somewhere I can do that on a daily basis!! Since Steamboat is so high up there are lots of pine trees (an unfortunately large percentage of which are affected by the Japanese pine beetle) and the beautiful fall colors come from the massive amount of aspen stands in the area. I have never seen so many aspens in my life! Since a group of aspens sprout above the ground from a single organism I wonder how many trees typically come from that organism?

The view from Bear and Rayne's house

A beautiful aspen stand
It's funny because we drove in at night, just after dark, so I wasn't able to see the scenery at all and even though we were quickly settled in as if it was our home (thank you Bear and Rayne!) I woke up in anticipation of actually seeing what this place looked like! I cannot rave enough about the view from B&R's property. It completely overlooks the valley that contains the small city so even at night it beautiful: you are far removed enough that you can see the incredible stars overhead but you can still look down into the valley and see the glistening lights of all the city dwellings. 

Hanz loved hiking up there because the landscape was made up of the two types of trees that I told you about but more importantly (to him) there was super long grass everywhere. He does this antelope-like leaping when he's excited and in long grass. He'll catch the scent of some kind of intriguing animal and follow it while running and occasionally leaping to better see if he thinks the animal could still be around. 

Rayne had invited me over for coffee in the morning, and since Tyler was still sleeping, I went over to chat with her. I really enjoy conversing with her. We had many interesting conversations throughout the course of the week we spent in Steamboat, especially in the mornings when it was just us. It's funny how you find good friends when you aren't expecting it. 

Tyler and I decided to go out to breakfast at the Creekside Cafe in downtown Steamboat.  This was a place that Tyler remembered going to as a child and it was his father's breakfast joint of choice. The menu at Creekside is ridiculously delicious sounding. They have many variations on the traditional eggs benedict. I got the "florentine" version which has poached eggs, ham, spinach and tomato on an english muffin, topped of course with hollandaise sauce. Oh my goodness, so delicious! After a filling meal and a pledge to return within the next few days we headed out. 

We headed further into town by foot and I noted all the places I wanted to stop back in when I had more time. There were a bunch of cool statues and really sweet little shops. We went into an ice cream parlor and general store that had an old fashioned soda fountain with scoops of ice cream for only $1.00! We would have to return there at some point so I could get some ice cream when I wasn't already so full. 

Oink Oink

Tyler and I ended up driving all around town so he could look at all the things he grew up seeing. Tyler hasn't been here in at least 7 years so I let him do his thing and I was content with hearing all the stories and seeing where he went to school, where he'd lived, where his friends lived, etc. We headed over to the old llama ranch that he'd grown up on which was just outside of town. It was now a horse ranch and the beautiful buck and rail fence that his dad, Neil, had meticulously put in by hand (that's a lot of work) had been ripped out in favor of metal fence. To make matters worse the man who had last owned it owed millions in taxes so now the bank had repossessed the property and was selling it. I think it was kind of disappointing for Tyler to go back to a place he had such fond memories of, especially since it was a special place for him in his childhood and it hadn't been taken care of the way he would have liked. It was interesting for me though, to see it, because Tyler has told me so many stories about growing up on the ranch, causing mischief with his brother. 

Tyler's childhood residence at the Steamboat Llama Ranch

Day 15: September 29th 2010, Wednesday

After my walk I went to a great little cafe in downtown Steamboat Springs to catch up on some of my writing. The downtown is super cute, with tons of small boutiques. It's nice timing, being here in the fall because the snow fiends who fill the town in the winter have yet to arrive but the summer crowds are gone. However, once you look at the price tags you realize Steamboat is indeed a resort town, with prices to match! It is still really nice to walk around in the town because there are several blocks filled with stores that are very conducive to window shopping. Even though it's expensive it seems like a great place to live because the city puts so much of its tourist-generated revenue back into the city. There is free public transportation on buses and there is even a bus that will pick you up if you call it and take you to the nearest bus stop! That service is probably mainly meant for the elderly but it's really nice that the city makes that kind of effort. There are also extensive bike paths through town and all along the river, as well as various parks for kids and bridges connecting different parts of the city to the downtown. There are geothermal features on the river at different points downtown. There is even a place where the water comes out of the ground, further from the river, and pools into what looks like a hot tub in the ground. The water would be way too hot to sit in though.

Hot Springs in downtown Steamboat

I have been hanging low in Steamboat and giving Tyler some space so he can catch up with his friend Joel. I did meet up with him for the afternoon and we took Hanz to the Yampa river which runs through Steamboat. Hanz loves to swim so we were chucking a tennis ball into the water and letting him swim to retrieve it. I love how he looks so tiny when he is soaked and he has little chicken legs because the usually fluffy fur is slicked against his body! He is so cute. 

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