Golden Colorado

Golden Colorado

We woke to drizzly rain and cool temps which persisted all day, so we slept late and recovered from yesterday’s hair-raising drive. Then off to find a bank, gas and a brewery, which turned out to be Toad Mountain Brewery.  We enjoyed a couple of 5 oz. pours and especially liked the “Biere de Mars” which was a tiny bit on the sweet side. It’s a nice, small brewery with an easy to understand menu. And, although Golden is known as the home of Coors Beer, we opted not to visit the large scale brewing facility simply because of time constraints.

Antsy as I was to get out of the RV, and determined as Steve was to hunker down in the drizzle, he dropped me off for my walking tour of Golden. Lots of photos, postcards, souvenirs and a cappuccino later I walked back down the Clear Creek pathway, on the opposite side of the Creek from our RV park – the Clear Creek RV Park – past the Colorado School of Mining and their football fields, a small living history museum and a hotel. Clear Creek Park is city-owned and generously supported by locals with lots of bronze artwork, benches and bridges that cross the creek. There is lots to see in this beautiful little city.

Clear Creek Park is well used by the locals, even in the rain, and this weekend the annual Golden Games, a celebration of an active outdoor lifestyle, were being held there with demonstrations of and competitions in kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, fly fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, paragliding, motocross and slack lining. Coloradans love the outdoors and this event certainly showcased it!

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Today’s long drive takes us through many miles of flat, flat desert with distant mountains…finally Colorado!

Reviews were all over the place for our selected campground, “Ami’s Acres” and I can see why.  It should more properly be called primitive camping except that they do have water and electric.  It is old, has been in a family for years, BUT it’s on a gorgeous piece of property on the side of Storm King Mountain and fronted by the Colorado River. It is on a steeply terraced piece of land with winding, (and somewhat deteriorating roads) but the staff was friendly and helpful and the park residents and visitors were terrific. And the birdsong is incredibly lyrical.  We hadn’t heard birds like this for weeks, not through all of the Southwest and even in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

I posted this on Facebook about this little gem of a spot:

“Ahh, Colorado!  Crisp mountain air and lush verdant views. Haven’t heard birdsong like this for a few weeks.  We lucked out and found ourselves in beautiful, historic Glenwood Springs and we are off to sample the hot springs today.”

One of the staff members, Calvin told me the story of the fires that began in the coal seams of Storm King Mountain on July 6, 1994. Fourteen firefighters lost their lives fighting the fire.  He pointed out the area where twenty-four years later the forest is still recovering from the devastation of the fire which inspired a book, Fire on the Mountain: The True Story of the South Canyon Fire, and a movie starring Josh Brolin based on that book. Such tragedy occurred in this stunning locale.

Started the next day early with RV cleaning chores, and then a walk through the campground so that Steve could see it and take his own photos…it’s so gorgeous here!

Then, onto Iron Mountain Hot Springs, a modern hot springs facility featuring 16 mineral rich baths in a Zen-like setting overlooking the Colorado River and the charming town of Glenwood Springs.

This is a top-notch, state of the art facility with lots of tubs for adults only, as well as a family pool, a café and outdoor dining area and an “all amenities provided” locker rooms. New Age music creates a calming and tranquil atmosphere. Alcohol is available to purchase at the café and at $50 for two people for the all-day pass, this was a great find! 

After a quick lunch at the café we headed to the City Market in Glenwood Springs to re-supply our RV with food. We are off to Golden, Colorado and the Rockies, traveling along Route 70 and occasionally catching glimpses of the Amtrak “California Zephyr” trains that travel from Chicago to San Francisco stopping in Glenwood Springs before heading out to Denver. Now, that’s a bucket list trip for another time!

We traveled through the White River National Forest awed by the approaching Rockies.  All of a sudden, it’s snowing! Near Loveland Pass and Arapahoe Basin we are inundated with heavy, heavy rain, then hail, then snow.  The forecast had called for rain, but we hadn’t planned for this. A complete black out at times as the big truckers splashed waves of sleet and hail onto our windshield…hold on to your hats!  Golden, Colorado you can’t be here too soon!