“Another day in Paradise.” That’s how the locals describe Colorado in the summer (winter, too). What better place to escape the brutal heat of Dallas than the Vail Valley. We planted ourselves in Arrowhead for a good part of the summer and enjoyed everything this idyllic area had to offer.
There are hiking trails from novice to expert, although the “difficulty” designation can sometimes be a bit misleading. Don’t let “moderate” fool you like the Overlook Trail in Beaver Creek up to Spruce Saddle. The views of the Gore Range from the top are worth the effort. With an elevation gain of 2200 ft. topping out at 10,200 ft. it’s a tough one. The good news is we get to ride the chairlift down for free. Yay!
Berrypicker is a popular Vail trail. Once we got to the top at Eagle’s Nest we realized most people ride the gondola up and hike down. We hiked up. Another steep, steep trail up, probably not too easy going down. Like the tortoise, we did it, slow and steady. We did stop on the way up to admire the wildflowers which were out in force, even the last rose of summer.
It was a pleasure to stop for a snack along what the locals call the Whiskey Hill Trail in Eagle Vail. It’s not on a map. A bridge crosses a rushing stream about half way up. The sound of water tumbling over the rocks while we sat in the shade refreshed us before we continued up, up, up to meet a trail coming from Beaver Creek Village. The sign at the top said Paulie’s Plunge. Oh, my.
It wasn’t all hiking. It wouldn’t be summer here without a rodeo. People of all ages get into the spirit as real cowboys and cowgirls try not to get killed as they compete for prize money.
From music to markets there is always something happening. The July 4th concert in Dillon kicks off the summer season with a patriotic extravaganza that makes everyone proud to be an American. Kudos to the National Repertory orchestra and its conductor Carl Topilow.
What next? The parade! Nearby Frisco knows how to do it.
There is music to suit everyone’s taste, much of it free. Bravo!Vail rolls out a season of orchestral music, chamber music and jazz with world class musicians. Rock, funk, too. A day of hiking followed by an evening of music. It doesn’t get any better.
Weekend markets beckon with farm fresh produce and lots of other things to entice you to open your wallet. The Minturn Market is one of the most popular. Get there early!
Want a respite from all the eye candy? Head west to Eagle, have breakfast at the old timey Eagle Diner, then continue on to aptly named Sylvan Lake. An easy mile and a half walk around the lake delivers lovely views of this tranquil fishing spot.
When we needed a break from all our hard work we day tripped south to Redstone and Marble, small mountain towns where you can feast on java, jelly beans and jewelry. Barbeque and ice cream, too. We indulged. Eat today, hike tomorrow!
It’s easy to see why the town is called Redstone. Marble is named after its huge quarry.
Our magical days in the mountains have ended far too soon. We’ll be back!