Saturday and Sunday we pretty much a washed out affair as each afternoon the rain moved in from the west. We were able to enjoy breakfast each morning consisting of our homemade breakfast burritos with our morning espresso concoctions. Aspen did manage to take advantage of the weather as she was able swim both Saturday and Sunday morning before the afternoon deluge took place. With that said, we were off on Saturday to the Alpine Center, it had been a while since we had taken a drive into the Rocky Mountain National Park and there is no better drive than Trail Ridge Road. One never really knows what to expect when making the journey. As we approach the Alpine Center at Medicine Bow Curve an Elk herd was forging high in the subalpine and into the alpine tundra zones. We are nearing the time of the year when the herd begins moving below to the various valleys scattered throughout the park. It took a bit of navigating to make our way into the Alpine Center parking lot and we were fortunate enough to manage to find a parking spot with out having to hawk about. Unlike last year there is still a bit of snow pack left on the upper cirque behind the visitor center which should last into the start of next winter. Stella managed to find a few items in the gift shop that will add to the ambience of our Base Camp and a short time later we make our way back down to Grand Lake. But not before pulling over at Medicine Bow Curve to observe the movement of the Elk herd.
Saturday evening, we decided to embark upon trying a new local restaurant. We are often disappointed when eating out, but didn’t have anything planned for dinner. I (Stella) had heard that the food at Heck’s Tavern, inside of Devil’s Thumb Ranch, is supposed to be good. Upon entering the main lodge, we were impressed with old, rustic style decor and architecture of the building. There were some beautifully restored old pieces of furniture that we admired. Entering Heck’s Tavern, we were awed by the massive fireplace in the middle of the establishment, as well as the high ceilings and again, the overall architecture. What we found most impressive, however, was the reclaimed wood flooring. It had a great deal of character, with a unique degree of distress to the wood. We were initially seated within the main dining area, but elected to move outside because of the young family next to us with three young children; they were a bit too loud for our taste. Initially, I was eager to order and try the Lobster Mac & Cheese, only to find out that it’s no longer on the menu (the online version that I had found was out of date). I decided upon the Cast Iron Chicken Pot Pie; Larry ordered the Maple Glazed Rotisserie Chicken. We shared a Caesar’s Salad, and the waiter also provided us with some dried-out dinner rolls. Without going into great detail about what totally sucked about all of our food, I can sum up the restaurant like this: OUTSTANDING service; AMAZING view; TERRIBLE food.
After taking Aspen for her morning swim, I headed down to campground office to access the internet and look at the radar. Once again the rains were heading our way, I was headed back to tell Stella that we might be able to get a quick paddle of Grand Lake in just as a clap of thunder interrupted that thought. We actually had hoped to drive down to Lake Granby and paddle into the Colorado River but mother nature had other thoughts. Anyway, there is no such thing as a bad weekend in the mountains. I was able to finish reading My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir. Later in the afternoon as we were preparing to head back to the city, the cow moose and her calf made a late day appearance behind Base Camp. The calf seems to be growing in size with each passing weekend as it prepares itself for its first winter.