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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report Trip Report - OUT WEST (In the end 'I Did It My Way')

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After several years of yearning to go 'out west', I finally made it. A couple of different times in the past several years I have tried to plan a trip to see some of the western states, each time some untimely accident or family death stopped my plans. Shortly after my mother passed away I began looking again at a trip. I was critized by a couple of fodorites for 'wasting their time' by posting when I had no intention of going.

I read and reread post, looked at maps, AAA information and a vast number of other resourses and I think I was about as confused as I've ever been in my life. Living on the east coast, it is really hard to imagine the vastness of our great nation.

I did not prebook any rooms as I wasn't sure which area I might like better than others and did not want to be tied to down to have to get from 'point A to point B' on any given day. My husband and I are in our 50-60's, so we are more strollers and short hikers, but we did want to see the National Parks, so here goes our story:

We flew into Denver, had a 4x4 vehicle waiting on us at Enterprise and headed out. Our first stop was to be at Estes Park. We took a route recommended by one of you guys, hoping to see some Aspens in all their golden splendor - heading thru Golden, via I-70, to Boulder, Boulder Canyon via 119, to Nederland, then south on Peak to Peak Hwy. to Estes Park. We saw a few aspens still at peak, but not many. On coming into Estes Park, we got our first glimpse of elk, as two hugh ones were right in town. At first I thought they were statues, but then I noticed cars stopping and cameras snapping. Got some good pics of our first, of many elk, A fodorite had told me about Boulder Brook so we checked it out and loved it there. Had a wonderful room with fireplace and sauna tub that overlooked Falls River (I think it was a river)

We found out the park had closed 8 miles in at 3:00 p.m., an hour before we got there. We unpacked quickly and headed into Rocky Mtn. National Park to see some of the park before dark. We could only go 8 miles in, but we got lots of lovely pics of elk (hundreds of elk and about as many pictures!). The further into the park we went the more snow we saw, It was beautiful. I loved the snow and the elk. I had to get out and throw a couple of snow balls! Finally we turned in for the night. The next morning we woke up to a winter wonderland. The trees were heavy laden with snow, made me think it was Christmas time! I alreadny knew I was going to love this trip. We came to see God's splendor and I just didn't know how much better it could get - but we found out!

We went back into the park again then explored some of the other roads around town, went into the park from another entrance, said mule deer that time. We had just bought a new camera and we had our Coolpix and both phone cameras snapping around every bend - what fun we had. Loved our visit here, and could have stayed much longer but knew there was more adventure awaiting us the next morning, so turned in for the night. We loved Boulder Brook, it was just perfect. Couldn't wait to see what tomorrow would bring. (to be continued)

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