October 8 – 19, 2017 – Maria and I took a vacation which started in Las Vegas and ended in Denver with us flying back home. It was somewhat uncomfortable knowing that just a few days earlier on September 25th, a shooting occurred at the Mandalay Bay, killing over 50 people and injuring many more. Our trip took us from Las Vegas through southern Utah where we visited several of the most popular National Parks. While in Colorado we spent time in Aspen and then in Divide where we stayed with Maria’s friend Joanne and Paul Thies. Five years earlier we had tried to make a visit to the Thies’s but were unsuccessful due to widespread fires in the Colorado Springs area. Our weather was great throughout with lots of sun and no rain. Many days were chilly in the morning but it quickly warmed up so that we could wear shorts during our many hikes.
Sunday October 8th – Flew to Las Vegas arriving around 7:00 PM. We quickly went to check in at the Linq Hotel before going over to our first show, Beatles Love which was staring at 9:30. We had a few appetizers and drinks with Maria’s friend Donna who also was vacationing in the Las Vegas area at the same time we were. She also went to the Beatles Love Show.
Monday October 9th – This morning we had our breakfast at the Bouchon Restaurant on the 10th floor of the Venetian. It has become a tradition with us. After getting show tickets for tonight we met Donna and spent much of the day with her as we walked around town. Always of highest interest to us is the Bellagio Fountains and Conservatory.
Tuesday October 10th – We drove to Zion National Park, located just outside Springdale, Utah. We arrived in mid afternoon giving us plenty of time to take the park shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava stop and hike briefly on the Riverside Walk to The Narrows. The Narrows is the narrowest section of the Zion Canyon with canyon walls up to a thousand feet and requires walking in the Virgin river. One can easily spend an entire day hiking The Narrows. We had dinner in the Red Rock Grill and spent the night in the Zion Lodge.
Wednesday October 11th – We left early, stopping at the Zion Park Visitors Center along the way as we drove to Bryce National Park. At Bryce National Park we visited some of the northern vista points, including Sunset, Sunrise, Inspiration, and Bryce Point. We continued our drive to Teasdale, Utah where we spent the next two nights at the Red River Ranch just outside Capital Reef National Park.
Thursday October 12th – Today we took a horseback trail ride that started at the Capital Reef Resort and spent about 2 hours in an area just outside the park. Unexpectedly during our ride a women feel from her horse. We never really knew for certain what happened but she was ok and we continued the ride. After the ride we drove into Capital Reef National Park and took a couple hikes through some very dry canyons and stopped at the gift store, and visitor center.
Friday October 13th – We left early for Moab and stopped early to take another hike. This one took us up in elevation a bit and gave us great views of the mountains and river below. Later we drove into Green River to wash our dirty SUV and have lunch. The terrain changed significantly near highway 70 and was void of any trees and was left very barren in appearance. Before arriving at Moab we stopped at Canyonlands National Park for a brief visit. We spent the next two nights at the Sunflower Hill bed and breakfast. In Moab we had a little bit more of a selection of dining establishments and had dinner at the Peace Tree Juice Cafe’.
Saturday October 14th – After a long day visiting Arches National Park we had a very nice dinner at Desert Bistro and relaxed at our room. It was surprising how many people were in the park. I guess this was the weekend making it a more popular day and also an easier place for people to go. I would hate to be here in the Summer!
Sunday October 15th – Today is Maria’s birthday and we are leaving for Aspen. We had been told to take the drive along route 128 which follows the Colorado River northeast from Moab toward route 70. We drove about 14 miles before being met with a closed road due to a marathon of some sort happening. They actually closed the road till noon and we had to turn around. It was a slow road and at least we were not in a hurry and the area really is very scenic. We arrived in Aspen by mid afternoon. Aspen was very quiet and in the off season with some places closed or having reduced hours. A group of John Denver fans was getting ready to leave town after a week long anniversary celebration. The town also was using this time to catch up on construction projects which were easier to do now with less people. We stayed at the Limelight Hotel for two nights and tonight we had dinner at the Wild Fig.
Tuesday October 17th – Today we left Aspen driving over the Continental Divide for Joanne and Paul Thies’s home in Divide, Colorado. We stopped at Twin Lakes on the east side of the Independence Pass to stretch our legs and also stopped in Buena Vista for lunch. We got to Divide at 3 PM. Joanne and Paul have a very nice home in the mountains that has been designed for energy efficiency.
Wednesday October 18th – Joanne took us to the Broadmoar in the Cheyenne Canyon area just outside Colorado Springs. Located t here is a beautiful trail and canyon which includes the Broadmore 1858 restaurant where we had lunch and the Seven Falls. Afterword we went to Cripple Creak to see the town and mining operations going on there.
Thursday October 19th – Today is our last day and we need to turn in our rental car in Denver prior to our flight home. Since our flight was not until 5 PM we took some time to visit the World Figure Skating Museum and to have lunch in downtown Colorado Springs.