It seems fitting to look back on my time spent with my sister out in Wyoming and Colorado a few weeks ago because this morning I’m sending her off on her next great adventure! Of course I’m sad and I’ll miss her, but as always, I’m super excited for this new opportunity in Florida and she’ll be right by the stadium the Detroit Tigers use for spring training so I’m thinking we’ll have to get back to our baseball days!
I woke up to a thunderstorm yesterday morning and feel like it’s Michigan crying with me as we say goodbye. But, knowing that it’s really only a “See you later!” let’s think about some happy things instead, like when my mom and I flew out to Cheyenne for a visit!
Em was out in Cheyenne, Wyoming for an assignment so my mom and I flew out for a long weekend. Flying into Denver was much cheaper so we had a bit of a drive before we wound up in Cheyenne.
I feel like it’s impossible to go to Cheyenne and not mention the giant cowboy boots all around downtown. Tourist photo ops abound with these guys! Another place and staple of downtown Cheyenne that you can’t just walk by without stopping is The Wrangler. This place has all the accessories for the outfits of the west. I have to admit, they had some pretty cute clothes and I eyed a few pairs of boots as well, before we moved on to bigger and better things. Like bison.
If you’re staying in Cheyenne for any length of time and you’re not into wide open prairies and lots and lots of bison, you might get a little bored. While Cheyenne has a cute downtown, a decent farmer’s market, a famous train depot, and a whole heck of a lot of bison, there’s not much else. (Strictly my opinion, as a Midwest suburban girl, to be fair! Haha)
So, moving on to the main event during our three day stay, the Terry Bison Ranch.
This big guy is just one of the many roaming and grazing away at the ranch. While we were there we took a train ride out to them so we could get up close and learn a bit more about these guys. While on the tour, you learn such random tidbits as that bison have black tongues like giraffes to prevent sunburn, and a full grown bison will eat about 500 pounds of food a day! That constitutes grazing about two to three miles a day. Lucky for these guys, this particular ranch has about 30,000 acres for them to roam!
While I was learning these fun facts, my sister wasted no time in making some friends. The whole experience was a bit silly, and we were the only ones in the group that weren’t either senior citizens or families with small children. But, I learned some things (Also, did you know that bison meat has zero fat and zero cholesterol?) and it was something we certainly can’t do back in Grand Rapids! They also had this awesome mobile chicken coop:
You know, for when you and your birds want to hit the road!
These mountains sure look a lot different when they aren’t covered in snow like the last time I was here! When you come in from Estes Park, I highly recommend Trail Ridge Road. Before making the climb up to about 12,000 feet elevation, you’ll have some decent opportunities to view some elk. There are a few photo op turnoffs along the way as you wind to the top, which has a seasonal cafe and gift shop.
While there was no snow, we did manage to catch a bit of the leaves changing for the start of fall. And what trip to Estes Park would be complete without a stop at The Stanley Hotel?? A beautiful old hotel situated at the base of the mountains, it has an incredible story all its own before you even add the spooky Shining aspect to it. Well worth the price of a tour. While I’ve only gone on their historic tour, I bet their night ghost tour is a scream! 😉
Estes Park itself is a bustling little resort town, with t shirt and ice cream shops all over. We found some great souvenir shirts and ate at a decent local Mexican restaurant, El Mex-Kal. The visitor center right downtown is great as well, especially if you’re planning on doing anything in Rocky Mountain National Park.
To end this post, I figured it would be only fitting for this city girl to admit that we all got a little excited when we were taking pictures at Medicine Bow National Forest and caught sight of some real cowboys herding cattle! Hahaha. I told you, there wasn’t a whole lot to do but the company made the trip and I can’t wait for our next adventure!
Also, this trip gave me the chance to catch up with this furball:
It’s tough being a dog, but somebody’s got to roll around in the grass. 🙂