Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cross County Culture …

We parked and roamed the shopping strip, amazed at the amount of taffy shops (at least 9). It turns out that the shops and sights I remembered are actually in Boulder. Estes Park is a small mountain town that looks like it reached its height of tourism in the 80’s. It reminded us of Telluride, but not as new-age.
What really captivated us was the glass blowing store. They had a glass blowing studio in the store where you could watch him create the pieces they sold- a brilliant plan, because once you watch it you’re more attached to the artist and piece and more willing to buy. We watched him make two glass pumpkins and then Amil bought us earrings.
That night we visited the town Theatre, appreciating it’s antiquity, including an old movie projector in the hallway, and it’s independence from big theater corporations. We watched a documentary about Crop Circles and heard a talk by the director, then drove back to our campsite.
We woke up and packed up, our site being reminiscent of Big Bear, but a little wetter. I ate breakfast while watching clouds hold back the sun, listening to Amil play guitar, then we head out for a day of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. We settled on a hike called Deer mountain, that afforded us beautiful views of Estes Park, and our campsite down below.
We hiked up in 1.5 hours and ran down in 45 minutes, then hopped in the car and head to my cousin’s house to stay with her family for a few nights.
I love visiting my family in Longmont because I don’t get to hang out with them often, and I have fond memories of playing in their three story modern Victorian home with my cousin. What was really strange was how much my younger cousin, resembeled Brittany when we were young.   
The first night we got there, we were treated to a classic family dinner of Spaghetti and garlic bread. Although I’ve had my share of pasta dinners in my residencies, this one in particular brought me back to the meals my mom would make growing up. We dined on the front porch, watching the colors of Colorado fade into dusk. 
I took a nostalgic walk around the neighborhood in the morning, then strolled around the very cute downtown that I don’t think I had visited before. I dropped my computer off at a local shop, and perused through a Bulk food store where you bring your own containers and everything is available in bulk, from nuts and grains to dog food to shampoo and detergents.
That night, our gracious hosts took us to an amazing “new Mexican” restaurant, where I gorged myself on chips, salsa and guacamole (you customize what’s in the guac and they make it right in front of you), and sopapilla rellanos (which I’ve never seen before), as well as a pretty strong margarita (maybe it was just strong because I can’t remember the last time I had a margarita).
The next morning I went on a run to explore more of the neighborhood , then Amil and I went to the farmers market and got some goodies for our upcoming drive back to California, and to make for dinner. 
He made a delicious and abundant meal of fancy rice, bean slaw, coconut bread, and I made a salsa. I had really enjoyed my time here, catching up with the family, playing on the rope in the backyard, walking back through old memories and sitting on the porch reading my new books. When I was young I always dreamed I would have a house that big, and marveled at the three stories, plus basement (now a home office), plus carriage house (they rent out). After college I toyed with the idea of renting their carriage house while studying the ecology of Colorado and establishing residency. Coming back this year, it was clear that my ideals have changed, at least from my big-home dreams. 
As much as I appreciated the homeliness of their big home, and the accessibility of the town of Longmont, I was eager to get on the road and move into my own home. We had just one more stop to make and person to see.
Our last day in Colorado was spent packing the car, full with fruits and veggies from the farmers market as well as grains and flours from various stops, and leftover concoctions from the week. We bid adieu to the family and head over to Boulder to meet an old friend at a Tea House. 
We visited this friend in Colorado last year, helping her paint a her room, and playing with her sugar gliders. This time we were going to join her for Tea where her fiancé works. Although living in cold weather has made me appreciate hot tea, I deflected the experience by ordering a fruity iced tea with tapioca bubbles. Amil, however, really enjoyed his Pu ehr(?) tea, and after sipping cup after cup, bought two different kinds and a special mug to drink it out of. As we drove away, he expressed how much he appreciated this knew drink, and the overall experience. We drove away from Colorado not realizing that it would be the last time in days that we saw the sun, toward Arches National Park.

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