...which is acutally a pretty nice city. Aside from the weather, anyway. I had hoped that this trip would convice Drew that Colorado is a great place to live and we should move here someday, but alas, we've had thunderstorms every single day that we've been here. Oh well.
Saturday through Monday we spent backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park. We hiked in 7 miles on Saturday afternoon, established a base camp of sorts, and did moderately strenous dayhikes on Sunday and Monday before hiking out Monday afternoon. (And yes, it was a great birthday. Any birthday where I awake in a tent surrounded by 12,000'+ peaks is a great birthday!)
On Tuesday we went climbing at a local crag outside of Allenspark called the Ironclads. Whew...it was a good thing that the Alamo rental car people were nice enough to upgrade us (for free!) from an Economy to an SUV. Our Trailblazer barely made it up the burly 4X4 road to this little climbing spot. And then...after only a few climbs, thunderclouds appeared out of nowhere, forcing me into the quickest rappel I have ever executed. I did NOT want to get us stuck on a flooded Jeep trail. We managed to beat the rain and headed to Fort Collins, the destination for today's whitewater rafting adventure.
After a restless night of camping at a forest service campground during which we endured the antics of drunken redneck neighbors until 3:00 AM, we headed out this morning for rafting on the Cache la Poudre river. We were paired with another couple from Kansas, both of whom were with the Topeka Police Department, and managed to paddle our way through the Class III and IV rapids sufficiently well that by the end of the trip, our boat's guide was actively conspiring with the other guides to get us wet. No luck, though...everyone stayed in the raft and a great time was had by all, in spite of the afternoon thunder and rain.
And now we are in Denver. Tomorrow at the ungodly hour of 6:00 AM, we board a flight to Los Cabos. But we decided to celebrate our single evening in the Mile High City with dinner at downtown's finest establishment (according to Zagat), Adega. Also one of the city's most expensive restaurants, as we discovered, with an impeccible wait staff and an impressive wine list. We both ordered the Prix Fixe menu, which included wine tastings with each of the six small courses. As we tasted each course and listened attentively to the Sommelier's commentary on each wine pour, we tried remain as poised and grown-up as we could, not wanting to seem out of place in this swanky atmosphere.
But, as we discovered, we needen't have worried. At the large round table next door was a collection of genuine Colorado country bumpkins, whom I only can guess had recently come in to money of some sort. This was apparent as we overheard a bearded man, ostensibly the group's leader, remark casually in a painfully backwoods twang:
"Yeah, ya know, then I got me a bottle of wine that cost three grand, but really, I wahn't all that im-press'd."
Right, right, right.
Things got even better when they got to their dessert course, and apparently became engaged in a deep converstion about personal needs and desires. From the same bearded farmer-man:
"Ya know, unless there are, like, 50 million things in my head, I get, like, bored"
To which Drew replied in an irritated mutter:
"I'll put 50 million things in your head. All of them, like, small and metal."
So perhaps the company wasn't the best, but it was really a spectacular meal. And the Sommelier's wine recommendations were sufficiently good that, as the check arrived, I asked if we could keep the paper copy of the Chef's menu that had been left on our table, so that we could reference the wine selections in the future.
"Sure," said the waiter smoothly. "Would you like me to have the chef sign in?" he continued without missing a beat, his face totally serious. He must be joking!
I began to chortle, but was interrupted by Drew, who interjected with a hearty: "Oh, yes!"
"Uh, okay," said the water as he snatched up the piece of paper and headed toward the kitchen, returning a few moments later with autographs from the chef and the Sommelier, and a slight smirk on his face. I was mortified.
"How could you not? H0w could you not take him on up that?" Drew insisted as we strolled back toward our hotel. "That's the joke! A signature from the chef! It's brilliant."
Right. And now this Chef thinks I have a crush on him or something. But oh well. When am I ever coming back to Denver? Who knows. For now, it's time to focus on Mexico. Don't know if we'll have internet access there - I suspect not. Until next week, then...