Friday, August 21, 2015

Lily Lake, Boating, Stanley Hotel, and Elk

Last day in Estes Park. It's been a fast week. Vacation is never long enough. Especially when it's a good 2-day drive to and from where you are going.

We kept the last day pretty light. Sorta went with the flow. We thought we'd take in some easy sights, see the Stanley Hotel and maybe do something fun for Ashton.

First we went to Lily Lake. Not as impressive as Bear Lake, but still nice. Ashton would take her sunglasses, upside down and right side out and use them like binoculars to see the sights. It was so adorable! Wish I got a photo of her doing it.

We then did a little driving around and about before deciding to take Asthon paddle baoting. However, once there we decided it was too windy and too hard to take a toddler paddle boating, so we rented a pontoon boat for half and hour. Ashton was so excited! She loved that her life vest was green and that we'd be on a boat all together.

Of course the highlight for her was driving the boat. She was so proud to be "steering" the boat all over Estes Lake.

We then headed back to the cabin for Asthon's nap, while we adults played cards. Then passing by our window was a coyote! However, we didn't have our cameras and missed the opportunity!

We called in our reservation for the Stanley Hotel tour, only to find out then that they don't accept anyone younger than 5 years' old on the tour. So we decided that my husband and I would go on the hotel tour while Grammy and Grampy would take Ashton downtown to run about.

The Stanley Hotel is where Stephen King got his inspiration for "The Shining". There were two different tours. The history of the hotel and the ghost tour. We took the history tour.

This is room 217 where Mr. King stayed the night he came up with the plot for his book. Usually all the rooms are closed, you can't tour any rooms, as they're all in use. Well, a young couple just checked in their room while we were on tour. Their key wasn't working to let them in so our tour guide unlocked their door for them. They were very friendly. They invited our tour group to see inside, but our guide said it was against policy. Too bad! This is the best we got!

I don't remember this hallway looking endless, but it probably looked different with my tour group in the hallway blocking the big mirror. Regardless, the tour was really fun, and we even got to go into the basement where there is nothing but rock everywhere! Very interesting!

While we were at the hotel, Grammy and Grampy were having a blast with Ashton.

Of course she loved playing anything musical! 

They ended up taking her to a little soda pop place and were about to buy her a lemonade, when Ashton insisted she pick her own. She picked honey-lemonade and loved it! They said she was the perfect angel for them.

After they picked us up, we drove out to Estes Park at dusk to see if any animals would come out. We saw 3 elk, all male hanging out. They were very close! 

As we were driving on we saw a lone doe by herself. Even closer!

Then out in a meadow there were about 30+ elk! They were in 3 groups all eating and running about. It was really cool to see. They weren't close like the others we saw previously, but to see so many, it was really awesome! We must have watched a good half hour or so! Cars were pulled to the side of the road everywhere people were taking photos and video. 

It was a perfect end to our vacation. We had to go back to the cabin and pack up as we are to get up really early to drive back home! A long 2-day drive!
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