Several weeks ago, we decided to go to Colorado. Though we had thought it out very meticulously – we’re both OCD – it was a rather last minute decision. Traveling, even roadtrips, during COVID has not sounded the least bit appealing…but we had a reason for this trip. This was the 10th anniversary of our engagement in Rocky Mountain National Park.
So we set out on a road trip to one of our favorite places on earth, Estes Park.
We had thought long and hard about how to travel in the safest possible way. We’re the caretakers for both of our sets of parents and we’re both only children. We take our responsibilities very seriously. So here’s what we did:
- We drove straight through, making for a 14+ hour long drive.
- We stopped for bathroom breaks at rest areas instead of gas stations.
- We took our own pillows.
- We took our own food.
- We ate all of our own food outside of a few drive thrus and picking up pizza curbside.
- We disinfected our cabin and brought our own soap. (I hate cheap hotel soap bars!).
- We did not shop. (Exceptions were made for two yarn stores, which were not heavily trafficked.)
- We wore a mask while in town, though we didn’t walk around much at all, and on the trails in RMNP.
One of our favorite things about Estes Park is Castle Mountain Lodge. It’s lovely. Though the cabins are not the most up to date or luxurious, they’re super clean and the grounds are immaculate. But the selling point: Fall River ran right outside our cabin and you can walk from the lodge to go on hikes into the park. We love this place.
We love day hikes. We were able to do three on this trip. It always takes time to adjust to the altitude and you need some rest days in there…. So three was a good number for a week-long trip.
We climbed Mount Olympus for great views of Estes Park. This trail is not actually a maintained trail so it was a bit tricky to follow….but the views at the top were worth it.
On our anniversary, we hiked to the spot where Matt proposed at Dream Lake. It was a windy day – as were all the days we were there – but otherwise the weather was gorgeous and the hike is so much fun.
Our last and longest hike was the Black Lake. This was an incredible journey. It’s over 10 miles roundtrip but my FitBit clocked in at 13 miles. There were so many great sights to see along this hike and so many different terrains to go through. Once at Black Lake, the winds picked up to astonishing speeds so we were not able to stay long. Already, I can’t wait to go back!
The only wrinkle in our plans was the wildfires that Colorado was being devestated by at the time. When we left, they didn’t appear to be a threat. But halfway through our trip, after days of 50+ mph winds, they got out of control.
If you plan on travelling, I encourage you to take precautions – but to do it. We all need a break from the day to day of COVID life. Our trip was truly rejuvenating.