Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

We needed a night off.

I just finished the last week of the semester, and I’m beat. We decided we need a small road trip, so we loaded up the van.*

*I can’t believe I haven’t introduced you to the van yet! I’ll do another post about the beginning of this beautiful project, which will eventually turn this empty van into a camper.

We didn’t take the van far. That’s one of the great things about living in Colorado: you don’t have to travel far to reach beauty. In fact, we overshot the place we’d be staying the night in order to have lunch together in Rocky Mountain National Park. (While we were eating grilled cheese and hot dogs in the van, we watched a couple do their “first look” wedding pictures with the Rockies as their backdrop. In high, hair-wrecking wind.)

The trip’s real aim was Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, which is only about half an hour from home.

We rented a small cabin for the night and spent the afternoon sitting by the Big Thompson River, which runs through the property.

Okay, quick digression to talk about birds. One of my favorite birds is the American Dipper, which I’ve only seen in the wild once before. When Dan and I first approached the river I spotted one right away and got really excited. Dan kept and eye on it and a few minutes later pointed out a nest, which meant that we were able to pull up a chair and watch a pair of Dippers flit back and forth with food for their baby for about an hour before a storm rolled through. Bird nerd heaven. (Watch these incredible birds.)

Sylvan Dale offers horseback riding, and we were able to watch a family trot (?) along the bank of the river. My very existence spooked the lead horse. ?

Because the weekend after the semester ended happened to be Mother’s Day, Sylvan Dale was offering a special brunch that we took advantage of. It was a really stunning buffet with carved-to-order steak, breakfast staples, apple pancakes, chorizo mac & cheese, pastries, and gads more. Oh, and mimosas — o.j. for Dan, cranberry-orange for me.

And then the weekend’s real coup de grâce: the woman sitting next to us at brunch is also in my MFA program at Western. Teow is graduating this summer (I still have another year), and we had never met, though we’ve had meetings and workshops together. We spent two full hours eating a sumptuous breakfast while talking about poetry, grad school life, and Colorado living. Wild.

It was a quick weekend jaunt but with both Dan and myself being fully vaccinated, it was the most anxiety-free fun we’ve had traveling in over a year. We’re both eager to get back to it, and with the van’s build-out underway, I see more and more travel coming back into our lives.

Hello, gorgeous.
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