Elk in Estes Park, Colorado 2019, with Colorado Traveling Ducks

It would not be fall for us without a day trip to Estes Park, Colorado.

Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park is the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.   There are a lot of elk in the park, and all over this area of Colorado.   In the fall, mating season brings the elk out of the mountains, and many spend time in the parks and golf courses of Estes Park.   We love to see them.   As we enter Estes Park we stop for a photo by the city sign.   The mountain views from this lookout are beautiful.

Mountain view from lookout

We continue into town, park, and walk along the river to the shops.

Creek

Having spent a lot of time in this small park, we can say it is a great place.   Of course, we love the water wheel.

Water wheel

And the shops beside it.   Last year we purchased singing bowls from the Himalayan store.   That is the last store by the water wheel.  They still sing and we still smile when we listen.   Walking along Elkhorn Boulevard, we purchased a couple pair of very soft slippers.   Then our normal stops at Laura’s Fudge Shop.   The sign says they have been spoiling dinner since 1970.   Moms have been coming here since the early 1970’s.   So, it really is delicious.   Fudge, toffee, candy, caramel apples, popcorn, ice cream and more.   Yum.   Then to The Taffy Shop.   Moms have been coming here just as long.    But, let’s find the real stars of today’s trip.   Often we see many elk on the lawn of The Stanley Hotel.

Elk herd at the Stanley

The Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s book, The Shining.   Driving a couple miles toward the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, we see more young animals.

We are on the wrong side of these guys

They seem to be looking the wrong direction.   In town, often a herd is in the park near Lake Estes.

Elk in the park

Aren’t they magnificent?   Today we found this bull elk on the golf course.

Bull elk on golf course

And a few more elk lounging on the golf course.

Elk lounging on golf course

These elk are wild and very large, but they are rather accustomed to humans.   However, we do not get too close.   They are wild animals, it is mating season, and they can be startled.   So humans and ducks watch and admire the elk, but do give them a lot of space.   Today we are going home through Big Thompson Canyon.   This is a beautiful canyon with many private cabins, many rental cabins, bed and breakfast, lodge, shops and year round residents.   Parts of the canyon are rather wide to accommodate small settlements, and parts are rather narrow with steep mountain sides.   Often mountain goats are on the side of the mountains.   But today we stop for cherry treats.

Colorado Cherry Company

Colorado Cherry Company is a favorite.   We ducks relax on the chairs and pose for a photo.

Great store.  The Cherry Tree

Inside mom tries a couple bites of pie.   She settles on a cherry rhubarb slice of pie.  It is delicious.   Her favorite jam is dark cherry jam, so that comes home, too.

Pie for dinner dessert tonight?

I bet we have this slice of pie for dinner dessert tonight.   I hope so.   We went for the elk, but did come home with extra things also.   We, Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck, love these day trips.   We hope you enjoy day trips in your area.

Estes Park and a Close Encounter With Elk

A gateway city to Rocky Mountain National Park, we love the resort town of Estes Park.

Estes Park, Colorado

It was overcast with car headlights on the rock.   We liked the shadows on the stone.  Fall River flows from Rocky Mountain National Park into Estes Park.

Water wheel in river by park

We love the water wheel in the river by this small park.   Elkhorn Avenue is the main street in Estes Park.

Elkhorn Avenue

We usually walk from one end to the other, stopping in various shops and often a restaurant.   One of our standard stops is The Taffy Shop.

The Taffy Shop

There are several taffy shops, but we have been coming to this one since mom moved to Colorado in 1975.   The taffy is made right here and it is delicious.  Try the Texas Pecan.   Another regular stop is Laura’s Fudge Shop.

Laura’s Fudge Shop

A few years ago, Laura’s expanded but the shop is always crowded with locals and tourists.   That really says the fudge and more is excellent.  We enjoy Turtle Fudge and Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge.  And the toffee, and the caramel apples.   Yum!   We did our shopping, crossed the road, followed the river and got in our car.

River flows under main street near parking area

This is fall, the rut, or mating season of the elk.   This time of year, we hear the male, or bull elk, calling his mates, sounding like a bugle.   The female may answer with a rather shrill squeal.   The elk often leave Rocky Mountain National Park and wander in and around Estes Park.

Elk herd leaving lawn of Aspire Residence at Stanley Hotel

This herd is behind the Aspire Residences, part of the Stanley Hotel.   There were several humans sitting on balconies enjoying the elk herd.   As you can tell, the herd is gradually moving to another area.   But some are not in a hurry.

Baby elk nursing

This young elk is hungry and trying to nurse, but mom doesn’t stand still very long.   They have moved, crossed a major street, and are now in the golf course.

Elk herd on golf course

The lone male watches the females.

Bull running to keep females together

He tries to keep them together.   This bull does a lot of running, or sprinting, to keep the girls where he wants them.   Oh, a second herd is arriving.

Second herd approaching golf course

They will join the first herd on the golf course.   How will this end?

Two bulls calmly passing

The two bull elk, one from each herd, pass each other, without incident.   But, we don’t think the elk can read.

Tee time?

Only golfers on the golf course.

Elk on the Golf Course

Well, is it tee time ladies?  The elk and humans mingle well.   If the elk want to move, the humans scatter to allow the elk freedom to go wherever they wish.  Further along, a herd is around Lake Estes.

A bull elk in Lake Estes

This bull is cooling off and probably drinking in Lake Estes.   The sun has set.

The Stanley Hotel at sunset

The Stanley Hotel is illuminated by the glow of the setting sun behind the Rocky Mountains.   A beautiful end to a beautiful day.

ESTES PARK, COLORADO after the flood

WOW!  What a great day.  Mom and I and Soapy, his mom and Steve, his dog went to Estes Park.  You probably heard that Colorado had severe flooding in October, but now the town of Estes Park is open to tourists.  So, we went.  Approaching downtown Estes Park, we were greeted by several young deer.

We were greeted by these deer

We were greeted by these deer

Estes Park is one of my favorite Colorado mountain towns.  They have a lot of festivals, so I probably will be writing about Estes Park many times.  This weekend was Elk Fest.

Elk Fest and we are.  We are under the last t

Elk Fest and we are. We are under the last t

Estes Park is one of the towns that borders Rocky Mountain National Park.  There are lots elk in the park, and lots in town now also.  This is their rut, or mating time.  The males bugle to attract the females and chase away other males.  We saw lots of elk in a city park.

Male elk ready to defend territory and his females

Male elk ready to defend territory and his females

In town, we walked along Elkhorn Street, the main tourist area, and things had been cleaned up and almost every business was open.  The main thing our moms missed were the huge pots of flowers.  Soapy and Zeb loved everything.  If necessary, our moms can go to the Botanical Gardens soon. We went to our favorite snack stores.  First to the Taffy Shop.  They have machines that pull taffy.

Taffy.  Looks good and tastes better

Taffy. Looks good and tastes better

It is so great.  The moms came out of the Taffy Shop with several boxes of taffy.  Then we went another block or more to Laura’s Fudge and Candy Store.  Again, lots of boxes.  This time fudge and white chocolate macadamia toffee and huge cookies.   I have tried it all this week.  I decided my favorite is every one.  Try them soon.  YUM!! The river goes through Estes Park and it is beautiful.  The moms took lots of pictures of us by the river.

Soapy & Zeb by water wheel and Nepal shop

Soapy & Zeb by water wheel and Nepal shop

Admiring the river

Admiring the river

Soapy has a blue tie on and Zeb is casual and without a tie.  Steve, she is really a girl dog, has a blue collar and pink leash.

Don't think this is usually in the river.

Don’t think this is usually in the river.

We all had to really watch Soapy as he is a scoundrel, just like his namesake Soapy Smith.

Soapy pushing Zeb to take boy's apple

Soapy pushing Zeb to take boy’s apple

We walked to the end of the street to the Elk Fest booths.

Some visitors and booths

Some visitors and booths

There were some booths, and some tourists, but not like previous years. After wandering, we stopped at McDonald’s for another snack.  What a surprise.  When we entered, they had two large yellow ducks on the counter.  Of course Zeb and Soapy had to have pictures with them.

Could be family reunion

Could be family reunion

They could have been our duck mothers.  McDonald’s employees told us that they sponsor the rubber duck races in late May, so that is why they have the big ducks.  Like we said:  Estes Park has lots of festivals. On the way out of town, we saw lots of elk in a park.

Elk relaxing

Elk relaxing

Some standing, many resting and some walking.  We have seen lots of elk since we became the duck family, but each time they are so majestic and wonderful. To get to Estes Park from Denver, you should get to Black Hawk.  You can do this by taking I-70 to Highway 6.  Heading toward Black Hawk, you will come to Highway 119 that goes past Black Hawk.  Continue past Black Hawk on Highway 119 to Nederland.  At the round about in Nederland, take Highway 72, also known as the Peak-to-Peak Highway.  This road will dead-end at Highway 7.  You must turn left.  Highway 7 will take you to Estes Park.  Estes Park is a favorite Colorado town and the main income is from tourists.  We love the town; they need us now, so let’s all go to Estes Park.  It is still fun!