There is not a better way to see the Rocky Mountains than from an elevated view. The perfect way to keep it all up close and personal, yet keeping your head above the foray, is on horseback. Making our way out of the Rockies after our drive, we found accommodations in Estes Park, Colorado.
The Ridgeline Hotel was a wonderful find. Although we booked their last available room, we found the room and hotel to be very accommodating. It was posh, upscale, and very comfortable. A small group of elk ambled along the roadway beside us as we made our way to the hotel.
Checking in, we received complimentary tickets good for a free S'mores kit. The fire-pits outside the convention center were perfect for the outdoor friendly town. Three fire pits were outside of their convention center exit. We'd find ourselves here after we took a dip in the pool.
Did I mention the pool? A grand rectangular pool ranging from 4 to 9 feet was treated with saline instead of chlorine. The pool was indoor, heated, and complete with a 90 inch projection screen television. A football game was playing as we enjoyed the pool later in the evening. Unfortunately, the hot tub was out of commission due to a failure in the filtration system.
Notch-Top not top notch
Their was no on-site breakfast. The front desk suggested Notch Top Restaurant. We found the Notch Top restaurant and waited 15-20 minutes for a table to become available. The breakfast was so-so. It was priced about normal for the area, but more than I'd pay at home for similar meals. We left here in search of a horseback excursion.
We found Jackson Stables after a bit of confusion with the signage and address. It is located off of US Highway 6 in the YMCA complex. There were small signs after turning into the entrance, that finally directed us to where we found the facility and parked our car. Thankfully restrooms were readily available, as breakfast made its way through our system more quickly than expected.
Signing in, the were able to accommodate us with a ride about to leave. A group of about 15 included a few younger riders, with the majority being adults. Three guides served as wranglers to help the group along. I mounted my horse and found the boots I'd purchased in Cheyenne a few days earlier were much more comfortable than my sneakers I wore riding in Jackson earlier in the week.
We made our way from the stables and rode into the Rocky Mountains National Park, where we enjoyed beautiful views of the mountains and some glacier-fed waterfalls. Our cowgirl guide bringing up the rear, Hannah, was very friendly and helpful. We learned she's from New York and moved to Colorado recently for college. Her plans are to become a veterinary technician. She handled the horses well enough and was knowledgeable about the route and pointed out tidbits about the local flora and fauna.
The elevated view of the terrain made for a wonderful experience, even though we'd been higher up in the Rockies, our horseback experience was even more meaningful and let us connect more closely with the surroundings. We had the same experience when visiting the Grand Tetons from the Teton Village Stables earlier in the week, just after leaving Yellowstone National Park.
Should you have the ability and time, I highly suggest visiting our national parks with a horseback ride excursion. The staff and horses were first rate at Teton Village and Jackson Stables in Estes Park.
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