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Fort Collins

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Published: June 22nd 2017

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Fort Collins

9th Jul: My flight from San Francisco hadn’t been too bad until we were approaching Denver. Then it got super turbulent. You know it’s bad when the cabin crew have to take their seats and the plane is deathly silent. However, we did land safely and 30 minutes early, which turned out to be an utter ballache as the powers that be made us wait on the tarmac until our official landing time. I bet it is because Frontier is a budget airline. I have major love for Frontier because the seats are non-reclining! No dickheads invading my space. The airport is massive and it took me a while to walk through it and get to the baggage reclaim area. I had just collected my bags when my friends turned up. It was so good to see them! It had been over a year since they had left Korea and I’d missed them a lot. We chatted non-stop on the way to the car and then on the journey out of the airport to Fort Collins. I think the drive took just less than an hour. I was loving the warmer weather after chilly San Francisco and also the difference in

the scenery.

My friends had planned what we would do that evening. Our first stop was Costco, a place I had never visited until my last week in Korea, now I was at another one. We picked up some groceries for our dinner and then drove to a place a little out of town from Fort Collins called Picnic Rock, which is a Natural area (formerly a State Park). The Poudre River runs through the area. This place is gorgeous. My friends had picked the best picnic spot. It was a beautiful summer evening and there were a few other people out and about, enjoying themselves. Picnic Rock is well equipped with picnic benches and grills. We found a table and grill and cracked open our beers. It was a great welcome to Colorado and Fort Collins, in particular. The area is a canyon and I loved the steep slopes surrounding us. I just couldn’t get over how beautiful this place was. We cooked a lovely dinner of lemon and butter asparagus and these stuffed salmon things that we had found at Costco, it was delicious. We also dipped our feet in the Poudre River. The water was pretty

cool, but it was nice and refreshing. And of course it was stunning, my introduction to the scenery in Colorado leaves me with high hopes for our visit to the Rocky Mountains in a few days time. After dinner, we went for a drive, so I could see some more of the local area. We drove alongside Horsetooth Reservoir, which is huge. We would be returning there tomorrow, but at a different section. We parked up in a car park and went for a bit of a walk down to the reservoir. The sun was beginning to set, the sky looked pretty and I managed to get some nice photos.

11th Jul: After a bit of a lazy morning, we headed into downtown Fort Collins to get some breakfast. We went to the Silver Grill Cafe located on Walnut Street, what a cool name for a street; Walnut! Their specialty is cinnamon buns, of which I am not a fan, so I didn’t partake in the eating of any of those, but I did drink plenty of coffee, I love all the re-fills going on and never say no to one. I think me and friends split a Huevos

Rancheros and some kind of crab Benedict. Both dishes were utterly delicious. We had a bit of a wander around the town, it is so cute. I loved all the little shops selling all kinds of things. I wish I was rich and not travelling with a backpack, so that I could have bought some stuff. Although I did get a wedding gift for my friend’s wedding that I would be attending back in the UK in a few weeks time. The residential streets in the downtown area are also gorgeous. My friends definitely picked a good place to live.

We had decided to drive out to the reservoir so that we could do some paddle boarding. My friends do it quite a lot and I was looking forward to giving it a try. My friend had bought a load of time at the paddle board place, but when we tried to use it, we found out that it was only for the person who had purchased it. However, the guy was really nice and gave the other two of us a discount. Score! It was a beautiful day again and it would be nice to get out on

the water. There were a few other people in front of us, so we waited for them to get their paddle boards before we could get ours. Since I hadn’t done it before the bloke gave me some basic instructions and then I was off. It was a bit freaky at first, so I stayed sat down, but once I was feeling confident I stood up. The water was really calm on the reservoir, so that helped a lot. Horsetooth Reservoir is about 10 kilometres long and 1 kilometre wide. It was built in 1949. I think we had about 90 minutes on the paddle boards. Since the reservoir is so huge, we didn’t explore very much of it. We stuck to one small area, near to where we had rented the boards as we didn’t want to paddle too far to get back. This part was popular with other paddle boarders, too. Quite a few were climbing the bank and diving off a big rock into the water. It looked too high for me, but one of my brave friends tried it. All in all, I really enjoyed the paddle boarding, and would love to do it again. It

was just so peaceful being out on the water.

We headed back to my friend’s place, where we picked up some supplies so that we could a picnic dinner. We filled the cooler with food and beer. I also filled up on more water. I don’t know if it is the dry heat, the elevation or a mix of both, but I feel parched all the time. Then it was back in the car to drive to our next destination. One thing this trip has taught me so far is that you definitely need to be able to drive and have a car to see everything that this beautiful country has to offer. There are so many cool places near where my friends live that would be totally inaccessible if you didn’t have a car. We drove for maybe half an hour to reach Bobcat Ridge. We pulled up in the car park and were deciding what supplies we were going to take with us, when we had the great displeasure of meeting the park ranger. What an utter prick! And that is putting it nicely. The power of the job had gone to his head, and didn’t he

like to point out to us how we were in the wrong by trying to take glass bottles of beer on our picnic. He could have been so much nicer about it instead of going on a complete power trip. He also said that there was a sign (we checked later when leaving, he lied about that), which we were obviously too stupid to see. People like him should not be working with the public.

Once we had re-arranged our picnic to remove the contraband, we were off on our hike to Bobcat Ridge. We were going to hike up to the ridge, but my friend decided it was too much effort, so we decided to do a flatter walk instead. The walk was really nice and I enjoyed taking in the scenery around me. This place is just so beautiful, I loved all the colours; the greens of the trees, the reddy orange shade of the rocks and the deep blue of the sky. There was a path to follow as we walked along the trail, the path was fairly wide and there were signs warning us to stay away from the tall grass. One of my friends

was walking along ahead of us, and he stopped to warn us that there was a huge snake ahead. It was big, but we had stopped far away from it, too far away to get any decent photos of it, better to be safe than sorry. This was the second snake I’ve seen in the US, I really hope I don’t see any more.

We came to a small clearing and there was a picnic bench there so we set out our food. There were a couple of rabbits hopping around. After seeing the snake, I didn’t expect to see them. There was also a small log cabin, so after our picnic we went to explore that. The cabin had been built in 1917, and the people who had built it/owned it had picked a great spot. It was sheltered on two sides and there was a water source nearby. They had built a well in the garden, too and planted trees for extra protection from the elements. I enjoyed looking inside the cabin and while the idea of living somewhere so remote is quite a romantic notion, I would be totally lost without my modern day conveniences. Not

to mention the snakes in the long grass. We headed back to the car in the same direction as had come, the return journey was snake free although I would have liked to have seen a bobcat.





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