Hey Pioneers – I got all wrapped up in seeing every single little thing and I forgot that I write for a living. Colorado sends it’s warmest and sunniest howdies and says that you should come visit because they are totally loving all those tourist dollars. I would say that they’re completely digging the company, too – but that might be a lie. I think the pleasure of your company is often a necessary evil and you are gently tolerated.
Thankfully, the literal, freakin’awesome beauty of these surroundings has completely eclipsed the fact that I’m not getting hugs and compliments with every convenience store transaction. Every day I see something new and I’d be lying if I said I’m not tripping – I whisper.gasp way too much. This place is so incredibly alive and verdant (bam! wettest May on record) and full of splendor. Yea. For real: Splendor. Purple mountains majesty. Blindingly beautiful wildflower fields. Winds that smell of pine needles and freshly turned gardens or little baby skunks and tart morning grass. All the rivers and streams are way up and so clear that you can see down to the bottom. I swear the fish are just coming by to say “hey” and be all chill. It’s a trip like Disney cartoons are a trip, complete with little chirping birds wearing brilliant colors.
The place I’ve come to love the most for this flavor of chill is just outside Eagle, Colorado and is probably one of those “Best Kept Secrets” kinda destinations. It goes by A.J. Brink Outfitters at Sweetwater Lake but everybody I know (all 5 people) just calls it Sweetwater. It’s about as full-service as any of the outdoor adventures I’ve heard about and the scenery and remote location make it ideal for my wants. Mostly my wants involve less work and more play. This place rocks for that.
It’s also, as luck would have it, a perfect place for naps. I found the absence of city sounds indescribably welcome and I’d bet some people would pay extra for that. You can hear the Falcons and Eagles and Hummingbirds (like a full-time Jetson’s cartoon just playing the flying cars part at a real low volume) and probably about a hundred other birds, but no motors or engines or air conditioners. If you’ve never been in a place where all that abstract background noise is gone, do yourself a solid and GET.out.
Imagine that summertime cartoony image of a little lake fat with constantly jumping trout, nestled among pristine mountains under skies so blue that the color hasn’t even been named yet. Yea. Imagine that and white puffy clouds. And, you can see the West Coast! Okay. I lied about that part, but there are some views that are guaranteed to make you feel especially small. I built a nest and slept on the deck one night, under this blanket of Milky Way that was so bright I could taste it. I’d recommend that over Prozac, if I were a doctor.
There are guided horseback tours and boats that float a stocked lake with a few campsites and cabins tucked in here and there. It looked like you could have as much privacy as you want and that it could be as affordable as you make it. Personally, I’d work overtime to sleep in a cabin or room in the motel-like stretch of accommodations, but I just roll that way. The campsites I toured were remarkable cool and all offered views like none other and not terrible hikes to bathrooms., so there’s really no way to go wrong.
The hub of the operation is a restaurant where the food made me way happy and the wifi sated my itchy typing fingers. I think you check-in here but I know for sure I got ice there and every single thing I’ve had from the kitchen was really, kinda, over-the-top. Because I’ve been grandfathered in by virtue of a stunt-son who works there on occasion, I’ve eaten some of the Crew meals (don’t even get me started on the killer smart and ambitious crew) and some things from the menu and they all made me feel like my mom was in the kitchen and I’d gladly clean-up. I didn’t have to clean up, but I would have. Gladly.
When I was a kid, our entire family would book a resort in Branson, MO (before it got all bedazzled – we owned.that.place) and 30 of us would swarm and test limits and stay up too late and gather our family mojo for about a week. This place in Sweetwater would be perfect for that. You gotta want it, though because it’s not right off the main highway or anything, but the location is a huge bonus if you want to get all.the.way away with yourself or people you love.
Gotta bounce. Headed to Ouray for the weekend, will let you know if it’s as cool as I remember.