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Have you ever felt so inspired and creative, like your brain is just full of ideas to the point that you’re so overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas that you get absolutely nothing done?  Thanks to our Estes Park trip I feel completely refreshed and filled with blog ideas… but I haven’t been able to execute any of them!  Since my brain is overloaded right now (in a good way) I thought I’d just show you some behind the scenes from our Estes Park trip.  My bathrobe and Uggs were my official cabin uniform by the way!

 

 

We’ve visited Estes Park many times, but this was the first time it was just me and Brian, just the two of us and it was amazing…let’s start with our cabin.  I’ve talked about it before from previous Estes Park blog posts, and it’s still a favorite.  Not only does it have gorgeous views it has special meaning to us.  This was the cabin we rented for Christmas the last year my Father in Law was with us.  We brought our own Christmas tree and everything.  It was perfect, so we feel attached to this cabin.

Here’s a view of the Continental Divide from the cabin deck.  It’s a gorgeous clear view when it’s not actively snowing.

We originally were in Estes Park to celebrate the New Year at the Stanley Hotel, but we just love the hotel so much we decided to stop in for dinner at the Cascades the night before.  It was after dinner and I was lounging by the fire when I made eye contact with the man across from me.  I told him I liked his scarf and asked him if he was staying in the hotel for New Years.  He replied no that he was visiting from Denver to see his longtime friend Arsenio Hall perform at the Stanley.  I loved watching Arsenio growing up!  We were able to get last minute tickets and it was a blast.  We told our kids and they were like who’s Arsenio Hall…. hahaha.

We had a great time at the Stanley Hotel New Years Eve Crystal Ball, we took these photos outside in the earlier part of the day, but if you’re wondering why you didn’t see anything from the party or inside it was just too dark for the photos to come out.  Normally iPhone pics do good in a dark environment but even those were grainy and blurry.  So sorry no photos for you!  You can see me outside the Stanley in the dress I wore HERE.

The next day snowed all day and night and it was just like being inside a snow globe.  I played with the snow non-stop, it was so fun!  Rocky Mountain National Park was technically closed with the government shutdown, but we made it as far as we could on the roads and had a great time exploring.  Here was a favorite deep snow spot of ours.

Normally Brian is always behind the camera but he couldn’t resist his own cheesy photo in the snow…. haha.  That spot was so fun, the snow was up to my knees in some spots.

Here are a few more gorgeous photos from Rocky Mountain National Park.

After a few days of searching we found the Elk herd.  You’ll always find a few of the bucks wandering around town, but there is always a large friendly herd that’s fun to find.  Sometimes they’re out in the country, sometimes at the Stanley Hotel, and sometimes there in the parking lot of the Safeway.  I love being surrounded by elk, they make the cutest little squeeky noises, at times it sounds dolphin like.

I love how friendly the elk are, once years ago we saw one while driving.  We pulled over and unrolled the window and he let me pet his face.

It wasn’t just elk we saw either, lots of wildlife was out.  We also saw lots of birds, rabbits, and deer.  This deer photo was taken along the creek of our favorite coffee shop Kind Coffee.

We ate most meals out, but we did stay in the cabin one day and I made my slow cooker sweet potato turkey chili, and we used the oppourtiity to take better photos.  It turned out pretty well considering I only had staging props that were in the cabin.  We’ve learned so much about food photography since then, so my goal is to go back and redo our earlier food photos.  But back to the chili recipe, I was excited to see our cabin had a slow cooker, this recipe is so yummy… especially topped with lots of sour cream and cilantro.

And just for fun here’s a snowy pinecone photo… you know I have a thing for pinecones!

It doesn’t always snow in Estes Park, some years we’ve visited it doesn’t happen, but when it does it’s magical.  Estes Park is typically quieter in the winter, and we love it that way.  You won’t find any skiing or snowboarding in Estes Park, but that’s just fine with us.  Due to injuries I can’t participate in any of those things anyway, but I still love getting away to this cute little mountain town in the winter.  We definitely have a lot of history and feel drawn to this area.

I already miss you Estes Park and hoping to see you a lot more in the future any time of year!