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.

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A Winter Sleigh Ride with Zeb, Soapy Smith, and Stevie

We returned to Winter Park, Colorado, one of our favorite mountain towns and ski resorts.   The humans, ducks, and Soapy’s dog, Stevie, drive to Dashing Thru The Snow office.

Dashing Thru the Snow

Dashing Thru the Snow

Here we are.   Now, into this building to register for a Three Horse Open Sleigh ride.

Check in here

Check in here

The humans ask if Soapy’s dog Stevie can go and they said yes!!   There were not many humans on this trip, so Stevie could ride also.   This is our sleigh with the three horses.

Horse drawn sleigh. Ducks on step ready to get in.

Horse drawn sleigh. Ducks on step ready to get in.

We ducks are on the step to get in the sleigh.   Stevie is in.

Stevie is in the sleigh

Stevie is in the sleigh

Here we go.

Going for a sleigh ride.

Going for a sleigh ride.

Driving through the snow with the Rocky Mountains in the background is so much fun.   Soapy’s mom seats next to Stevie so Stevie doesn’t get scared.

Stevie and Soapy's mom

Stevie and Soapy’s mom

This is the first sleigh ride for ducks and for Stevie.   The humans have taken sleigh rides before and they always have fun.  Driving through the trees is fun.

Riding through the trees

Riding through the trees

It is below freezing today, but the bright Colorado sun shines while the gentle breeze tugs at our scarves.   New snow sparkles in the sun and our blankets keep us cozy and warm.  Stevie has her blanket tucked around her silky black fur.  The Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains is so pretty today, with new snow on the mountains.

Colorado Rocky Mountains from our sleigh

Colorado Rocky Mountains from our sleigh

This area is called Devil’s Thumb.   Here we are, at the end of the sleigh ride.

Ready to get off the sleigh

Ready to get off the sleigh

Stevie is standing up and ready to get off.   We were too slow.   Stevie’s new friend, Chip, jumped on the sleigh to be with her.

Chip and Stevie in the sled

Chip and Stevie in the sled

Chip lives here and her owners run Dashing Thru The Snow.   Now everybody is off the sleigh and Stevie and Chip are having fun.

Chip and Stevie

Chip and Stevie

The humans and ducks now get hot chocolate.   The large container has cups and miniature marshmallows for the hot chocolate.   Yum!

Cups, hot chocolate, and marshmallows are here.

Cups, hot chocolate, and marshmallows are here.

The other container has regular marshmallows to roast over the fire.   We ducks love roasting marshmallows.

Roasting marshmallows with empty horse drawn sleigh behind.

Roasting marshmallows with empty horse drawn sleigh behind.

Our empty sleigh and horses are here also.   We ducks are sitting by the fire.   Chip is our friend also.

Colorado Traveling Ducks with Chip by the fire

Colorado Traveling Ducks with Chip by the fire

Sleigh riding makes ducks hungry, so we stopped for a snack.

Snack while looking at the mountains

Snack while looking at the mountains

It is nice to look out the window and admire our mountains, covered with snow.   Today the weather in Winter Park was nice, but below freezing. We small ducks are still a little chilled when we get back to our condo.   The humans said we could sit by the fire to get warm, but not long enough for rubber ducks to melt.

Warm by the fire

Warm by the fire

We really had fun today in Winter Park.

Colorado Traveling Ducks to Return to Winter Park in 2017

We are back and we love it.   Our time share condo awaits us.   Huge piles of snow here this winter.

Lot of snow here

Lot of snow here

From our deck, through really long icicles, we view the partially frozen Fraser River.

Icicles on our deck

Icicles on our deck

Many winter activities are planned.   However after the first one, more about that next time, daytime temperatures did not get above the mid teens, or -10C.   Our human moms did not like the cold.   They did not enjoy the wind blowing from the mountain peaks over the fresh snow, attacking their skin.   Actually, we ducks did not like being cold either.   Much of our time was inside admiring the sparkling now on the mountain peaks, and enjoying the fireplace.   Occasional short walks with Stevie, Soapy Smith Duck’s black lab reminded us we don’t have fun shivering.   One evening we went bowling.

Fun here!

Fun here!

It was a lot of fun.   Soapy Smith Duck, and I, Zeb the Duck, can verify that our humans had not bowled for a long time.   The scores, low and rather embarrassing.   Gutter balls, too often.   Strikes, a few, but too few.   Laughter and smiles were there, also.   Poor performances but a great deal of fun for everyone.   The movie theater, located in the same building, sold popcorn. We bought some on the way out and were surprised to also see buckets of caramel corn.   We returned to the condo with a bucket of each kind.   A couple colder days, our only trips were to great restaurants.   Winter Park and Fraser have so many.  We’re returning to the Smokehouse.

Smoke House

Smoke House

One human enjoyed pulled pork.

Liftie sandwich on Texas Toast. Delicious pulled pork

Liftie sandwich on Texas Toast. Delicious pulled pork

Bucky’s mild sauce always tops her sandwich.  Other humans enjoyed various sandwiches.   Nearby, where humans do not walk, these icicles impressed us.

Huge and abundant icicles

Huge and abundant icicles

The roof is rather clear, but so many icicles.   One day we enjoyed Mexican food at Azteca.

The place for Mexican food

The place for Mexican food

Another evening flavorful, fresh seafood was our choice.

Good food inside

Good food inside

Fontenot’s has great food and pretty great icicles also.   Another favorite, Randi’s, prepares mom’s favorite broiled trout with almonds.

We return here every year.

We return here every year.

Then our moms ordered these desserts.

Ice cream desserts. Cold and snowy outside

Ice cream desserts. Cold and snowy outside

Behind the desserts, that is  a window and real snow piled in the parking area.   With so much snow, roofs of buildings need to be cleared.   The weight of the snow can cause roof damage, or even roofs may collapse.   Also, falling ice and snow can seriously injure anyone on the ground.

Cleaning the roof

Cleaning the roof

At our condo, men clear the roof using electric tools.   This tool, similar to a chisel breaks ice.   Other tools, if necessary, are used to remove snow and the underlying ice.    During this cold spell, we ducks and humans were often seen walking to this building.

More fun inside

More fun inside

Inside the hot tub was hot.

We are ducks and we love water

We are ducks and we love water

The sauna was also hot.

Rather hot in here

Rather hot in here

So warm and relaxing.   The morning we left Winter Park, it was a couple degrees below 0, or about -20C.   These are not unusual temperatures, but even with warm winter clothing, we did not enjoy going outdoors often.   The next week temperatures were around freezing during the day.   Perhaps we will go back for a day to enjoy some of the winter activities we missed.   Maybe.

Tubing and Snowmobiles near Winter Park, Colorado

Today Zeb and Soapy went to Colorado Adventure Park to enjoy the snow and Colorado sunshine.   First we stopped at the Tubing and Snowmobile Tours building.

Ducks waiting for moms to go inside

Ducks waiting for moms to go inside

These snowmobiles look like we could have fun here.

This is a big snowmobile.   Too big?

This is a big snowmobile. Too big?

They are big, but we are ready to go.   But wait… these are more our size.

This one is better for us.  Let's go moms

This one is better for us. Let’s go moms

Now we are ready to ride.   We can go tubing also.   This hill is a better size for two rubber ducks.

Our first tubing experience

Our first tubing experience

It was fun!   The humans can practice on this hill and then come down this bigger hill on the tubes.

Bigger hill for human tubing

Bigger hill for human tubing

Now they are down, how do they get back up to ride again?

So easy.  Save energy for tubing downhill again.

So easy.  Save energy for tubing downhill again.

Look at this moving sidewalk.   This is great for humans and ducks.   We like this place, but even with the bright Colorado sunshine, we are getting a little cold.   This fire pit area is just perfect for warming our feathers.

Warmth of fire feels so good!

Warmth of fire feels so good!

We really had fun here today.   We hope you will try tubing and snowmobiling this winter.

Twin Rivers Condo in Fraser, Colorado

I, Zeb the Duck, and Soapy Smith Duck, went to our condo near Winter Park, Colorado.

We love coming to Twin Rivers

We love coming to Twin Rivers

This is very exciting for us because this is where we joined our human family and became the Colorado Traveling Ducks.   This is the first time Zeb and Soapy have visited in the winter.   This is a big pile of snow in our parking lot.

Brrr

Brrr

We are happy that the parking lot had been plowed.   After unpacking, we headed to the indoor recreation area.

More fun inside

More fun inside

This hot tub is great.

We are ducks and we love water

We are ducks and we love water

Sure feels good after sitting on that snow pile.   After the hot tub we played a few video games and then tried the sauna.

Rather hot in here

Rather hot in here

This was the first sauna for these traveling ducks, and we liked it; but not too long mom.  We could melt.   We wanted to follow the path along the Fraser River.   This is our regular walk when we come here in the summer.   However, looking at this pile of snow, it is not summer now.

Lot of snow here

Lot of snow here.   Cold snow!

As we walked along the river, it was cold and there was snow, but the river was not frozen solid.

Frozen in places

Frozen in places

No ice-skating here today.   We really like to see the river frozen in places and the water flowing freely in other places.

Only partly frozen

Only partly frozen

We think the river looks like a post card.   Steve, Soapy’s dog, is telling us it is time to go home and she is leading the way back to the condo.

We are coming Stevie

We are coming Stevie

Back inside, we warmed in front of the fireplace and enjoyed the view from the windows.   Soon Zeb and Soapy wanted to sit on the railing of the deck.

One of our favorite places

One of our favorite places

This is a favorite place for ducks to sit whenever we are staying at the condo.   Tomorrow our moms are taking us out to another recreational area of Winter Park.   We hope you will come back and see where we go next.   We like Fraser and Winter Park, Colorado and we think you would like it also.

Flooding in Winter Park, Colorado

Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck spent a few days in Winter Park, Colorado.  You might remember that last summer, Zeb, Soapy, and JB Duck and three generations of  humans became a family.

Last year we hiked along the Fraser River.  That is where our picture at the top of this page was taken.  This year was different.  Things had flooded.   Winter Park is a ski and snowboard area.  They had so much snow this winter.  So much fun for skiing, snowboarding and all winter sports.

But, the snow melted and Colorado had a lot of rain.  The road to our condo complex was closed,

Water still fast and high

Water still fast and high

part of it washed out by the flooding.  We came in another way, but there was a lot of water damage.

This is the path we always took along the Fraser River.  You can see part of the path has washed out.

Part of our path is gone

Part of our path is gone

We could not walk on this part of the trail; the flood water was too fast.

We usually walk through here and stay dry

We usually walk through here and stay dry

Here Zeb and Soapy are sitting on sand bags.

Our first sand bags.  Very close to our condo

Our first sand bags. Very close to our condo

Those trees do not belong in the river, just near it.

We did have fun this year; so do visit Winter Park and Fraser.  The water is receding, and all the summer activities will open today or in a few days.  You will have a great vacation there, but do be careful near the water.  It is high and fast now.  Be safe in Winter Park and wherever you go.

Have fun but be careful!

Have fun but be careful!

We will go back this summer and we hope to see you there.