Grand Lake, Colorado with Zeb the Duck and Channel the Bear

We love visiting Grand Lake, Colorado.   I, Zeb the Duck, and my friend Chanel the Bear, took our moms to Grand Lake.

Entering Grand Lake, Colorado

Let’s visit my favorite store, Quackers.

Quackers in Grand Lake, Colorado

This store in Grand Lake features rubber ducks!   Yes, an entire store dedicated to me and my duck relatives.

Giant duck in Quackers

Meet my largest relative.   Chanel and I invited some friends to pose with us.   As great as ducks are, we also enjoy the fudge.

We love fudge

And there is more.   Roasted nuts.

Yum. Roasting nuts taste good and smell delicious

Of course some came home with us.   While rubber ducks are the stars of this store, Martin the Moose is pretty great also.

Martin the Moose on skis

Remember we are in the Colorado mountains.   Moose do live here.   However, Martin is the only moose I ever saw wearing skis.   We purchased new family members.

Purchased at Quackers

And some fudge and roasted nuts.    Then headed out for lunch.

Lunch at The Sagebrush

Today our choice is The Sagebrush.   Here are some new friends.

New friends at The Sagebrush

Aren’t we an attractive bunch of friends?  Our table has a complimentary bucket of peanuts.

Peanuts and cow tablecloths here

We are to toss the peanut shells on the floor.   That is the sign of a fun place to eat.   Notice the cow pattern table cover?   Our lunch was delicious and the portions were large.   A good place to eat when you are in Grand Lake.  Now to the adjoining bar.

Old West bar here

Looks like it is from an old Western movie.   We enjoy the hats and license plates as part of the rustic decor.   Our next stop is Studio 8369, an art studio in town.

Studio 8369 in Grand Lake, Colorado

The 8369 refers to the elevation of the town of Grand Lake.  That is about 2550 meters above sea level.   The Rocky Mountains in Colorado are rather high.   Inside Studio 8369 we admire the Gourd Art.

Gourd Art by Ivy Howard

This is by Ivy Howard of Grand Lake, Colorado.   Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Studio 8369 has some beautiful photography.

Stunning photography here

You would love this place.   A couple weeks later mom and I returned to Grand Lake.   This time there was more snow.   A few miles from Grand Lake is Lake Granby.

Lake Granby with low clouds

We loved the partially frozen lake and the low clouds.   Driving through town, past Quackers, we went to Grand Lake.   Grand Lake is the largest and deepest natural lake in Colorado.   It is also part of the headwaters for the mighty Colorado River.   Remember the Colorado River heads southwest and continues to carve the Grand Canyon.

Rent boats here in the summer

In the summer tourists can rent boats to explore and enjoy the lake.   Now snowy and frozen, we enjoy a winter landscape.   Back into town, near Quackers, we spotted these snowmobiles, or snow machines.

Snow machines today, mom?

Mom said we were not renting them today, but we had to try them for size.   These are big.   The employees at Spirit Lake Lodge rent these machines.   They were very nice to us, the Colorado Traveling Ducks.  A drive into Rocky Mountain National Park was next.

Rocky Mountain National Park, West Entrance

Grand Lake is at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.   The road had been cleared.

Driving in Rocky Mountain National Park

Isn’t this a beautiful winter drive?  However the road is only cleared for part of the park.   This road ascends to over 12,000 feet (3657 m) and is closed during the snowy winter months.   We did enjoy many beautiful winter scenes.

One of many spectacular views in the national park

As you know, we love our mountains.   Both in the summer and in the winter.   We hope you explore a little and enjoy our mountains during the winter, or explore your part of the world and enjoy all the seasons.   It is a new year, so enjoy and discover new things and places.   And tell us about your adventures.

Over Trail Ridge Road with Zeb the Duck

A favorite summer drive for us includes visiting Winter Park, a stop at Grand Lake where we enter Rocky Mountain National Park.   We drive over Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved highway in North America.  Exiting the national park at Estes Park we stay there for a little shopping and then return home.   It is a full day, but a wonderful day.   That is the plan for today.   First stop is Winter Park, Colorado.

Winter Park Resort

This is a mountain resort, skiing in the winter and many opportunities in the summer.   In the winter there is a ski train from Denver to Winter Park.   In the summer we love the Alpine Slide.

Alpine Slide, Winter Park Resort

It is hard for mom to get photos of this, but here you can see the half pipe track we use.   Also there is a rider on a sled at the end of the ride.   When we finish, we take our sled and hang it on the line so it can be taken back to the top of the ride.  We ride the ski chair lift to the top of the mountain, get off, walk a little way to get a sled, put our sled on the half pipe run, sit on sled, check our brakes and ride to the bottom of the mountain.   It is really fun!  We can make music here at Winter Park Village.

We can make music.

In the winter humans ice skate on the lake behind us.   Back in the car, we drive to Grand Lake, Colorado.   Grand Lake is the name of the town, but there is a lake, named Grand Lake here.

Boats available at Grand Lake

Hardy souls swim here, but we don’t want to swim in a cold mountain lake.   But these boats on Grand Lake are really fun.   Now let’s enter Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park, west entrance

This is one of four national parks in Colorado, and probably our favorite.   Here I, Zeb the Duck, am admiring the beautiful mountain scenery.

In Rocky Mountain National Park

You may notice dead trees behind me. The Pine Bark Beetle is killing many of our lodge pole pines.   This beetle epidemic is in Canada, the United States and into Mexico, killing trees in the forests.   This beetle epidemic has occurred several times in the past 500 years, but it is so sad to see so many dead trees.  I just love lakes.

Alpine Lake

This alpine lake is so beautiful and so serene.   Driving further up the mountain on Trail Ridge Road, we are now above timberline.

Above timberline. It is too high for trees to grow

The growing conditions at this altitude and temperatures are too severe for trees to grow.  You can see a lake and snow below us.   We were there in August, so this snow is from last winter.   Remember, the higher you go, the colder it gets, so snow in some areas doesn’t always melt during the summer.   On Trail Ridge Road we have experienced incredible mountain scenery.

Beautiful views

We climbed through alpine conditions.  Visited above timberline.   Stopped near Visitor’s Center.

Near Visitor’s Center

Passed through Arctic tundra.  We crossed the Continental Divide.

Crossing Continental Divide

Viewed landscaped shaped by volcanic activity.

All types of terrain here in Rocky Mountain National Park

And descended into the resort town of Estes Park.   We could spend days or more exploring this park and take thousands of stunning photos, but not today.   We enter Estes Park.

Welcome to Estes Park

We walk through town and of course mom always stops at Laura’s Fudge Shop and at the Taffy Shop.   At one of town, we watch the river and listen to the soothing sounds of water tumbling over the rocks.

Scenic river through Estes Park, Colorado.  This is a free photo from the internet.

We love this town and we love this drive.   When you visit Colorado, we encourage you to drive over Trail Ridge Road.

Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck Visit Grand Lake, Colorado and Quacker Gift Shop

Did we mention that we love our home state of Colorado.   Well, we do.   We even have a special gift shop here.   Grand Lake, Colorado is a lake and a town, located at the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park, west entrance

Let’s visit a little of the park.   We can drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, on the highest continuous paved road in the United States.   Trail Ridge Road connects Grand Lake on the west with Estes Park on the east.   But today, we just go a little way into the park.   We want to see some elk.   Here is one.

elk

Elk on the move.   We really saw several elk today in several places in the park.   Sitting on this fallen tree, we appreciate our Colorado scenery.

In Rocky Mountain National Park

We love our mountains, the meadow, the stream and the elk resting.   But mom, what about our store?   Back in the resort town of Grand Lake, we find The Quacker Gift Shop.

The Quacker Gift Shop.

While there are other items available, the main focus of this gift shop is us–rubber ducks!   From the vantage point on the large duck’s bill, we can see much of the available merchandise.

View from a duck bill

And there is a lot!   Let’s sit on the top shelf by duck caps and the Jumbo Ducks.

Sitting by duck caps and Jumbo Ducks

And still more.

Dreaming of wonderful jam

We enjoy this shelf, sitting by locally made jams.   Yummy!  And Celebrity Ducks.

Celebrity Ducks, and us

So many.   Sitting by the pink flamingo, we are near ducks from The Wizard of Oz, a KISS duck and so many more.

Are we celebrity ducks?

Of course some new ducks came home to join our family.

The newest members of our duck family

The moms purchased fresh fudge also.   After lunch at The Hub, the fudge was sampled and appreciated.   Grand Lake is a town located on Grand Lake, the largest natural lake in Colorado.

Grand Lake

Isn’t the lake pretty?  Grand Lake was formed by glaciation about 30,000 years ago.

Grand Lake

Glaciers are gone and we have a beautiful recreation area.   On the beach some children built a sand castle.

Beach at Grand Lake

The swimming area is clearly separated from the boating area for everyone’s safety.   And boats.

Boats available at Grand Lake

Boats can be rented by the hour.   Maybe next time.   We didn’t allow enough time to fully enjoy Grand Lake.   Boat tours are also available.   We will be back here.   Grand Lake has long been known as the headwaters of the Colorado River.   And the mighty Colorado River carved the Grand Canyon, one the top natural wonders of the world.   Grand Lake is about 2 hours from our home near Denver.   We can come for a day, a weekend or a week.   But, we will be back here often.   We ducks must revisit the gift shop dedicated to us and rubber ducks everywhere.

Rocky Mountain National Park is 101 Years Old Today

The most visited of Colorado’s four National Parks is 101 years old today.   Rocky Mountain National Park came to exist January 26, 1915 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill creating our National Park.

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

This park has many attractions; the most notable is Trail Ridge Road.   This road, connecting the towns of Grand Lake on the west and Estes Park on the east, reaches 12,183 feet and crosses the Continental Divide.   The road, US 34 is the highest continuous highway in the United States.   Trail Ridge Road closes in the winter, due to snow.    Rocky Mountain National Park has much wildlife, including large elk herds, prompting Estes Park to hold Elk Fest every fall.   Hiking, mountain climbing and camping are just a few activities enjoyed by park visitors.

When in Colorado we hope you visit all of our National Parks:   Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Mesa Verde National Park.

Colorado Duck in Rocky Mountain National Park with Zeb in the summer snow

Living near Denver, a day in the mountains is very common and very enjoyable.   My human calls it a mini vacation.  Since she is retired, we have lots of mini vacations.  We drove to Grand Lake, the western entrance to the national park.  Before entering the park, we visited Quackers Gifts.

Quacker Gift Shop Grand Lake, Colorado

Quacker Gift Shop Grand Lake, Colorado

This is a small gift shop dedicated to my kind.  The shop features many rubber ducks, several smaller than I am, but very cute ducks.  Holiday ducks, specialty ducks and even celebrity ducks.  There is a second store in Manitou Springs, near Colorado Springs.  Definitely go to Quackers Gifts if possible, or visit www.quackergiftshop.com

Entering Rocky Mountain National Park at Grand Lake, we followed Trail Ridge Road to Trail Ridge Store and Café at 11,796 feet above sea level.

Trail Ridge Store in Rocky Mountain National Park

Trail Ridge Store in Rocky Mountain National Park

This is the visitor center, but not the highest point on this road.  Trail Ridge is the highest continuous highway in the United States.  You should drive it, in the summer.  Lots of snow falls here in the winter.

I'm in a 5 foot snow bank in Rocky Mountain National Park

I’m in a 5 foot snow bank in Rocky Mountain National Park

My human put me in this snowdrift.  Snow is cold!

Leaving the visitor center, we saw herds of elk lounging on the Alpine landscape.

Herd of elk lounging at 11,000 feet in Rocky Mt National Park

Herd of elk lounging at 11,000 feet in Rocky Mt National Park

We are above tree line here.  Elk like cooler temperatures in summer, so they go to higher elevations.

Beautiful Elk

Beautiful Elk

Cooler it was.  We needed jackets.  Silly elk, I like warm summer days.

There are many hiking trails in the park.  Some are even paved to accommodate many people, and wheel chairs.  The park has lakes, streams, trails, mountain climbing and camping.  There are hiking trails through the Alpine tundra area.  Normally tundra is found in northern Alaska and areas with similar climates.  The scenery and wild animals are picture perfect.

One more majestic elk

One more majestic elk

This park is wonderful for one-day trips or several weeks camping, hiking, fishing and climbing.  We only spent a few hours here, but it is beautiful.  I, Zeb, will return.

Trail Ridge Road took us to Estes Park where my human rushed to the Taffy Shop.

Pulling Taffy in Estes Park, Colorado

Pulling Taffy in Estes Park, Colorado

The shop has this machine to pull taffy.  There are many flavors and the humans love it.  My mom’s favorite is Texas Pecan.

Rocky Mountain National Park is about 2 hours from Denver.  You can enter from either Estes Park or Grand Lake.  Both are beautiful mountain towns.  Each town has shopping, motels, restaurants, hiking trails, rafting, horse rides and each town has a lake.  I love them both and I think you would also.  Visit in summer or winter, but Trail Ridge Road connecting the two towns is closed in the winter.  Way too much snow.  See you in the park soon.