Sunday, October 5, 2014

Colorado trip report Sept, 2014

Colorado/Rocky Mountain national Park trip

Sept 6-Sept 12, 2014

Sept 6.   Our trip started off with a smooth Southwest flight from BWI, Maryland to Denver Colorado. We landed at the Denver airport a little early which was nice.  We had an easy time at the Enterprise Car Rental, the service was great and we had an awesome deal for the week’s car rental. And we were off on the start of our 7 night vacation in Colorado. We drove toward the cute town of Nederland in which we had a great lunch at the local Pioneer Inn. Hubby enjoyed the burger and I had the tacos.  It was a cute town and stop for a quick lunch.  After a scenic drive our first night was actually on the west side of the Rocky Mtn Nat’l Park, we had reservations at the Inn in Silver Creek. We were happy with this choice, we just wished there were more choices in the town of Granby for dinner and breakfast. We did enjoy a late day drive into the park. We saw a lot of elk along the park’s main road. Great sighting of a flock of White Pelican on the Granby Lake and a pretty sunset at the Granby Lake the first night..

Sculpture and Town Hall at Nederland, Colorado.. 

Sunset over Granby Lake

Sept 7. We are early risers and the only choice for an early breakfast at this time of the year was McDonald’s.  So we  I grinned and beared it, just so we could get an early start at the park. Coffee was good. This was our first full day touring the park. We stopped at the Kawuneeche Visitor Center and drove along the Trail Ridge Road as far as the Alpine Visitor Center. We did make stops along the way and took some walks.  Most of these walks were closer to the west side entrance. Our walks were at the Colorado River trail, Coyote Valley and the Holzwarth Historic site.  .  We had several awesome sightings of a female moose and her calf. Lots of elk, I was looking for new birds to add to my life list. On this day we took the hike to Adams Falls. After our hike to Adams Falls we headed to the Grand Lake Lodge and enjoyed their brunch. An excellent choice and we made this meal our dinner for the day.  Our second night stay we head closer to the park and moved to the Gateway Inn for our second night on the west side of the park. We were happy with our room at the Gateway Inn, I would highly recommend staying there. We ended the day we a view of the sunset at Grand Lake and to watch the rising of the almost full September Super Moon.

Sept 8. Hubby and I started off our morning with breakfast. We both had the scrambles at the Blue Water Café in Grand Lake. I do have to say the cook was a little heavy with the oregano on the breakfast potatoes. But, the eggs were yummy and the coffee delicious.  On this day we had to check out of our Gateway Inn room and we headed to the east side of the park for 4 nights. Our room there was at the Discovery Lodge in Estes Park.  Another day of driving on the Trail Ridge road looking for wildlife and taking some walks. Great sighting of a Dusky Grouse on the way to Bear Lake. A main stop of the day was at the Bear Lake trail and the later part of the day was hanging out at the Beaver Meadows area watching the elk.  It was quite the show with a huge bull Elk taking charge of his herd. Dinner was a great meal at Smokin Dave’s BBQ, great choice and a delicious dinner. I would highly recommend Smokin Dave’s.

Dusky Grouse seen along the road to Bear Lake..

 Trail Ridge Road overlook.

Sept 9.  Our first full day at Estes Park. A great breakfast at the Egg and I. We were pleased with the service at the Egg and I and the breakfast was always good. We ate there three mornings of our stay. I would highly recommend the Egg & I.  We took an early morning walk on the trail at Estes Lake and the Matthew’s Reeser Bird Sanctuary. We headed into the national park for a walk around the Cub Lake trail and to check out the elk around the Beaver Meadows. Always great Elk sightings there. Hubby wanted to do the walk near Bear Lake and went a little further on this day to the Alberta Falls even in a light rain. In the evening we always ended up back with the elk at the Beaver Meadows area. It seemed to be a favorite spot for everyone to watch the elk. Sometimes it was hard to find a place to park with all the cars that were there.  We had a so-so dinner at Nicky’s Steakhouse at Estes Park. It is a more expensive restaurant, so we expected more attentive service and good food. Our meals were Ok but they wanted $2 for slices of bread which I thought was petty. Most places would give you bread for free with your dinner. I actual prefer a steak dinner at home at the local Texas Roadhouse over our dinner at Nicky’s Steakhouse. 

Elk seen near the Beaver Meadows..

Sept 10.  After a good breakfast at the Egg & I we headed to the Estes Lake trail again. I was looking for new birds and hubby did not mind the view of the lake.  Then we head into the park once again and drove up the Alpine Visitor Center. Hubby took a brisk cold walk up to the top at the Tundra trail. I hung out at the Alpine Visitor Center, did some shopping at the gift store and had a warm drink. We slowing made our way back down stopping at all the overlooks. Beaver Meadows and elk viewing was once again our go to spot in the later part of the day. Dinner was a repeat of our favorite spot Smokin Daves’s BBQ. Again we enjoyed our meal, service and the food was awesome.

Tundra Communities Trail at the Alpine Visitor Center.

Sept 11. Another great meal at the Breakfast at the Egg & I. A great start to this day. We headed to the park and the trail to the Alberta Falls. A pretty hike in the sunshine this time to see this beautiful waterfalls. I would highly recommend this hike. We also did the loop trail around Bear Lake, we enjoyed this sunny day. We stopped at the Sprague Lake for a short walk too. During any walk or hike, I would be looking for new birds or any bird sighting would be nice. We had the afternoon free so we decided to take a drive along the Peak to Peak highway as far as Nederland passed the Lily Lake and the Little Chapel on the Rock.  On this day we had a pizza dinner close to our room.  And we enjoyed the Estes Park elk right in our Discovery Lodge’s parking lot, by their pond and on the golf course. We could easily see and hear the elk from our room’s balcony. 

 Alberta Falls

The loop trail was great around the Bear Lake.

Sept. 12  We woke up to snow on the ground. No snow in the streets which was good, I am nervous driving on snow covered roads. Breakfast was at a new place for us Claire’s in Estes Park. Hubby and I both enjoyed omelets and I had to have coffee of course. Claire’s is another Estes Park restaurant I would highly recommend. This was our last day near the park, we checked out and headed to our last night at a hotel near the Denver Airport. On the way back to Denver we visited the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. At the refuge, I was looking for birds and we saw the Buffalo or should I call them Bison. Either way they are cool animals. We also saw a lot of cute Prairie Dogs on the wildlife refuge. Dinner was the local Ruby Tuesday located near the Airport hotel. 

One last visit to the Rocky Mountain National Park..the Beaver Ponds in the snow.

 Buffalo at the Rocky Mountain NWR

Prairie Dog seen at the Rocky Mountain NWR.

To end my trip report, I have to say hubby and I enjoyed our trip to Colorado.. The mountain scenery is gorgeous and I loved all the wildlife sightings.. I do wish I could have seen more "new" birds.. If you are ever in the area I highly suggest visiting all the places mentioned in my post..

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Thank for stopping by!  I appreciate all my blogging friends and commenters..

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Belize Trip Report

I am linking up with  Oh, the places I've been @ Tablescaper   and check out  Gemma's  Scenic Weekend   And Friday Postcards

Belize trip report May 17-24
Day 1. Hubby and I flew from BWI- Miami to Belize City.. the flight from Miami was delayed some. We arrived in Belize City over an hour late. Our arranged transportation had to leave since they already had some guest to transport.. Luckily they arranged new transportation to the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge for us. This turned out to be an adventure in itself somewhat. The van ended up with a flat tire which was promptly fixed but our driver had to go and buy a new spare tire. We were ok with this since we figured the first day was going to be just for traveling.  Bryan and Richard were nice to greet us with a yummy rum punch. We arrived at the Sleeping Giant too late for lunch but Richard ( greatest bartender ever)  gave us a snack to hold us over till dinner.  We had a garden view room under the bar which at times was a little noisy. The room itself was beautiful. I loved the bathroom, décor and the cute towel animals.. Oh and the air conditioning worked great. Over the next four days, Richard the bartender was one of our favorite workers at the Sleeping Giant Lodge. Dinner was delicious at the lodge, they have a great cook.

Day 2. I have to say the breakfast at the Sleeping Giant was delicious, most mornings both hubby and I had omelets. We arranged a Mayan Ruins tour with Bryan at the Sleeping Giant thru Caves Branch Adventure Co.  I believe our tour guide for the day was Ching?  He was very informative and led us on a great tour of the Xunantunich and Cahal Pech mayan ruins. I did a blog post here: . I love to look for new birds and I was able to find a few new lifers on this day to the ruins and we saw a Spider Monkey at the Xunantunich ruins.

Day 3. Hubby and I were up early each morning and would sometimes take a walk around the Sleeping Giant grounds and down to the river. Breakfast at the lodge was the usual yummy omelets. One this day we arranged for some birding at the Sleeping Giant Rainforest lodge.  Neko from  came to the lodge and spotted some birds right on the lodge’s grounds and then a walk down the road to the orange orchards.. From there we took a separate tour with Neko to the St Hermans Cave and to do some birding at the Blue Hole National Park.  My blog post on our day here:
 Our cave tour was a guided walking tour led by Neko. I also found out Neko was awesome at spotting some new life birds for me. We had a lunch at local place picked out by Neko, hubby and I both enjoyed the burritos. Back to the resort for a swim in the pool, showers and a yummy dinner. I usually picked a fish dinner which also came with a salad and a dessert. Kudos to the Sleeping Giant cook.

Day 4. We hung around the Sleeping Giant Rainforest lodge for the day.  Walking around the grounds, looking for new birds, breakfast as usual was yummy. The birds around the open air dining room was a distraction at times. It was hard to concentrate on eating while I was watching the beautiful hummingbirds and toucans and other birds around the lodge. Hubby and I did take the hike up to the tower gazebo at our lodge. We had some beautiful views of the orchard, river and the mountains. We did have a rain shower while at the tower and we just waited it out before heading back to our room. Back to shower, swim at the pool and have one of Richard’s delicious Pina Coladas.  As the previous nights, we enjoyed the dinner at the lodge.

Day 5.  This day was our transfer to the Almond beach Resort part of our jungle-beach package. We were up early, again taking an early morning walk around the grounds before breakfast. It was kind of sad leaving this beautiful rainforest lodge. We were enjoying the food, drinks and all the attention.  But, hubby was looking forward to some coastal scenery and snorkeling. Our drive to the next hotel Almond Beach resort in Hopkins went quickly. We were greeted with a Rum Punch, a nice tour of the hotel and grounds and shown to our beach front room. Wow, we had a gorgeous view.  This first night hubby and I did take the night tour of the lagoon to see the Bioluminescence tour. It was neat seeing the jelly fish glowing in the dark.

Day 6. Having a beach front room at the Almond beach resort was great for viewing the sunrises.. Hubby and I were up early every morning to see these beautiful sunrises.  Breakfast at the resort was delicious, the service was always excellent. On this day we arranged a hiking tour to a waterfall at the Mayflower-Bocawina National Park. I believe at this time the hot and humid weather was taking its toll on me. I whimped out and did not make it all the way to the waterfall, I stopped near some cascades while hubby and the group hiked on. It was a beautiful rainforest-jungle area to enjoy, with some great bird sounds all around. Hubby had a camera to take shots of the waterfall. One thing I can recommend is to have a good bug spray with you, the flies were mean. Back at the room, showers done we had dinner at the hotel, food there was always excellent.

Day 7. Another beautiful sunrise from our room, a pretty day in Paradise.. A yummy breakfast at the hotel dining room and we were off on our tours.  On this day hubby and I split up.  Hubby took the snorkeling tour to the Barrier Reef, which he loved. His words.. one of the best he has ever done, except for snorkeling at the Cayman Islands..Hubby has snorkeled in a lot of places. I went off on a birding tour included a local tour of the birds along the Sittee River and also a boat ride on the Sittee River.  I was happy to add a few more lifers to my list. Also, on this day we rented a golf cart to drive into Hopkins for some fun.  We stopped at  The Funky Dodo for a drink. They were reasonably priced drinks and delicious. And then onto another local place Brother Pizza.  Definitely a good choice for the pizza, it was recommended by some friends we met at Almond Beach.

Day 8.  Our last day in Almond beach we were sad to leave this pretty paradise and our great room with it fantastic view. We had an early breakfast and then had to pack up and get ready for our ground transportation to Dangria airport.  We had a smooth Maya flight to Belize City airport. I enjoyed the views from this small plane, the first time I have ever been on a little plane. It was exciting. We arrived at the Belize City Airport with enough hang out time before our flight to Miami and home. Overall we had a great trip to Belize, I would highly recommend visiting this lovely country.. We were happy with the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Lodge and Almond Beach. Sorry for the long report, thanks for reading..

I would recommend the Sleeping Giant Rainforest Resort and the Almond Beach Resort for a good time in Belize..

Thanks for stopping by and  I wish everyone a happy day!

I hope you enjoyed my travel and scenic post.  I wish everyone a safe and happy weekend.  

 Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comments. Thanks for stopping by to see my post and thanks to Gemma for hosting Scenic Weekends. also thank to Alma the host @ The Tablescaper
And Keryn from Friday Postcards