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Fort Collins: Fermented Paradise and Laundry

This post jumps back to our late spring trip out west.  Leaving the Vedauwoo Recreation area between Laramie and Cheyenne, we backtracked and drove southeast to Fort Collins, Colorado.

We had several reasons for making Fort Collins our destination. First, Julia has an optometry school friend who resides there.  Her husband is a lawyer.    And they both like to hike and drink good beer, so lots of things to talk about after not seeing each other for a number of years. 

Second, after a week without hookups, we needed to resupply, shower, do laundry, dump tanks,  and plan our next journey into the mountains. We checked into Boyd Lake State Park for a two day mid-week stay.  

All of Colorado State Parks are expensive for camping and charge an additional $10 each day for non-residents. At Boyd Lake, sites are tight. Coin showers with out-of-order change machines.  No firewood for sale. On the plus side, the on-site laundry facilities were excellent.  Also, it was very convenient to use as a base for our trips to the mountains to the west, and reservations were available mid-week during June. There wasn't much else available where we could get stuff done.  

 

One thing that we really enjoyed here were the afternoon storms. The sky would be just like the photo above, and then dark clouds would appear from nowhere.  The winds would kick up; the lightning would flash across the sky; and then maybe it would rain a little bit or not.  It was a total tease. 

Then the blue skies would return--just in time for us to go on a brewery tour with friends. Our first stop was Odell Brewery:  excellent beer, very enjoyable outdoor space. 


 After a long winter and spring being mostly cooped up without much social interaction, it felt great to hang out with friends and laugh over beers.

Next stop:  New Belgium Brewery.  I've had their beers before in Wisconsin, but there was a wider selection of draft beers at the brewery.  I tried the Belgium-style Kriek.  Delicious.

One of the ideas discussed that night was a recommendation to hike nearby Horsetooth Rock Trail.  Deanna  and Dan were working the next day and wouldn't be able to join us.  They warned us that the trail could be "snakey" that time of year, so to keep alert.

We didn't see any snakes on the way up, and the trail was beautiful.  We hiked up early in the morning to beat the heat.


 

Julia on a Horse's Tooth


During the hike down, the temperatures started to warm up.  While we were some of the first hikers up, a long line of people were below--just beginning their ascent.  Sleepy heads.  Three young women were hiking towards us about twenty yards away when a HUGE snake slithered quickly between them and then into the tall grass.  The woman closest to the snake  jumped about four feet back and two feet high while shrieking.  It was a big, non-poisonous bull snake and made for a interesting end to the hike.  Two of the women were laughing as we crossed paths.  The one closest to the snake was still a bit shaken.

A week later, we were back at Boyd State Park for more chores before heading into some different mountains for a second week.  This time, we headed to Verboten Brewing in Loveland.  Unlike Odell and New Belgium, Verboten is a small place and the type of brewery that I most enjoy supporting.  Excellent beer and staff that loves to talk about their beer and the community.

Covered outdoor space in front

Beer List

Perfect pour of Stealth Haze

During our resupply, we picked up several Colorado beers which I haven't previously tried. Juicy Bits is made in Greely.  This is my favorite way to enjoy beer. With sandals in a mountain stream.

The next post will be about our week in the national forest near Allenspark, Colorado.

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