McGregor Mountain Blog

Moving Forward!

September 27, 2013

blog02

Looking west at the Mummy Range

If you have been following us on Facebook, as well as others around town, you’d know that Estes Park is well on its way to being back at 100%! Especially for you, our welcomed guest! There are some areas, in more residential neighborhoods and some outlying towns (Glen Haven, Pinewood Springs) that will take a bit longer to get back on their feet. But downtown Estes is just waiting on a few more restaurants to re-open, and a vast majority of the National Park is now open again!

While all is, seemingly, back to normal there is a different feel to town. It’s quiet. The tourists just aren’t here. For those that have come up it’s a welcome change from the throngs of tourists that are usually out watching the elk bugle and enjoying the Fall colors. This *never* happens. You just don’t have solitude this time of year up here as it’s so immensely beautiful as to attract people from all over the world. Normally you are in a traffic jam in Moraine Park or Horseshoe Park as the Elk watching crowd heads out after sunset, sometimes sitting in traffic for 20 minutes before it clears out enough to move. It’s just not like that this year. If you are on the fence, this alone should persuade you to come on up! Now, this weekend will be a bit busier, and as the rut and foliage continue, with more people learning that Estes is ‘open for business,’ the crowds will start to filter back in. But it will still be much more laid back than normal.

blog01

Aspen lined trail on Pole Hill.

As I’m writing this it’s about 45 degrees and raining lightly with snow up high (the AVC webcam is showing 26 degrees!). Fall is such a wonderful time of year! As the park was closed last week we all had to switch to trails that we normally don’t use. Friends were heading over to the west side of the park, which was open, or exploring accessible trails on the east side of Estes Park. I didn’t have the time to make the drive to the west side, so I made the short trip up to the trail head on Pole Hill and went up Panorama Peak. What an incredible hike! Jeep roads wind all over the place up there and many are lined with beautiful aspen, which, this time of year, are truly stunning. I’m certainly glad I have found these new-to-me trails in time for winter as they wont get quite as socked in with snow as some of the higher trails in the area. It’s a wonderful option and a nice change of pace from the more popular trails in the area… just bring a map as there are many winding trails/roads in the area… but it’s certainly worth exploring!

With things getting back to normal here, the main question we are still getting asked is how to get here with the nearby highway closures. We have our ‘Maps and Directions’ page updated with the current situation as far as roads go. As they begin to reopen, we will update this page accordingly. You can see it here: Maps and Directions

We truly hope to see you soon! Estes is flourishing and we *really* want you here to enjoy our special corner of the Rockies with us! Give us a call at 800.835.8439… we’d love to have you!

Michael

 

{ 1 comment }



Howdy all! First off, we want to thank you for your overwhelming support over the past week. It has been a trying time to say the very least. We just want to give you an update on what happened through our lens, what’s going on now, and what we expecting in the coming weeks and months.

m01

Hwy 36 with a ‘stream’ scattering debris across the road just after sunrise last Thursday.

After the dry spell we’ve had over the past few years we have been so thankful for a much wetter year this year. The flowers have been wonderful this summer, the temps have been a bit cooler, and the National Park and town, both, have been a lush green just about all summer long. So when it started raining on Monday of last week, we were thankful. Keep the fire danger down. But it kept raining. And it kept raining. Then it rained some more. My family and I got up early on Thursday morning to take my wife and youngest daughter to the airport for a weekend with family. We noticed that there was no traffic on Hwy 36 going either direction but we wrote it off as simply being early in the morning. We headed east and soon noticed the river spilling over its banks. They turned us around at Pinewood Springs. Little did we know that less than 24 hours later this community would be completely isolated needing to be evacuated by the National Guard.

The rain just kept coming and the rivers kept rising. People were interested and walking around town watching the water. It certainly was impressive. At Kind Coffee, business was as usual with folks gazing at the Big Thompson as it rose toward the back door. Our seasonal pond here at the lodge was filling rapidly, and we all started to hope the rain would stop. There wasn’t any damage anywhere quite yet, but we knew if it got *any* worse it could get bad pretty quickly.

Bugle Pointe - Just below McGregor on Fall River.

Bugle Pointe – Just below McGregor on Fall River.

Fast forward another 24 hours and it seemed that all hell had broken loose. Water was literally everywhere. Roads were gone, homes were gone, people were scrambling to evacuate from mountain communities such as Pinewood Springs and Glen Haven, and we were all in shock as to how bad this had actually gotten. I drove up to the lodge to find a stream running down the driveway. A good friend of mine and I got to work to divert what we could away from the cabins. It was to late for our Pinon Cottage (#2) which had water flowing out of the front door. It wasn’t terribly bad, but a couple of inches in one of the bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen. The rest was just saturated carpet, so it could have been far worse. We built dams in a few spots on the property and it seemed to work really well. One spot was beyond a fix though as it was simply a spring with water bubbling out of the ground and flowing down the driveway. Our seasonal stream was a roaring torrent that could have washed you away!

Elkhorn Ave. during the flood. Click to enlarge.

Elkhorn Ave. during the flood. Click to enlarge.

It was surreal to drive down Fall River Rd and see bridges being washed away and to see river banks disintegrating before your eyes. To see Elkhorn Ave as a river, literally. Entire mature spruce trees were being swept down the river. The National Guard was, and still is, manning check points. I have to show my ID to get to my house.

Once we got McGregor under control our focus shifted to helping out where we could. Chris began offering cabins to those who were evacuated or lost their home. I used my skills by trying to get into remote areas like Glen Haven to asses the situation, help evacuate folks via tyrolean, and simply to use my fitness to help however I could. Those experiences are best told in another venue as they were a bit intense and I’m still trying to process what went on, and what is still going on, out in the remote communities. Luckily they are now being, or have been, evacuated by helicopter.

All that's left of our friends home and store on Glen Haven. A pile of debris!

All that’s left of our friends home and store on Glen Haven. A pile of debris!

So it’s now Tuesday and the rebuilding has begun. They have removed most of the mud/silt that coated the downtown streets and parking lots. Some businesses that were flooded are already reopening. The sun is shining and it feels like autumn! We still have more work ahead of us than I think we realize but we are on our way and will be back up and running full speed sooner than later. The people of our mountain town are strong and truly love this slice of heaven and it’s exciting to see us all working together to overcome this.

So what’s next? Where does this leave us and you, our valued guest? Obviously, there is some work to do before the throngs of tourists can come back in, but we are hopeful that this can happen relatively quickly. I’m hoping a week or two. But with hwy’s 34 and 36 completely destroyed, easy access wont be available for months. We are getting mixed reports of when you can come visit so I wont say anything definitively, but we’re hoping days/weeks but fearing it may be months. We have refunded all who had reservations during the next couple of weeks, and some who were planning a stay during the remainder of the year. And again, we’re holding out hope that things can get back to normal fairly quickly and it wont be an issue. The National Park should open before too long and most of the businesses will be close behind. The issue at hand is access. How fast will they have Estes accessible to you? We will keep you up to speed the second we have any reliable information.

Our 'stream' at the lodge.

Our ‘stream’ at the lodge.

Recovery is really getting underway now that the rescue/evacuation efforts are winding down and there are many ways that you can help.

You can send donations to the following places:

I’m sure there are more, but those two seem to be on it aggressively and already making a difference. You can always contact the town of Estes Park and certainly your denominational affiliate here in town.

Rebuilding has begun! Clearing mud from the roads and parking lots.

Rebuilding has begun! Clearing mud from the roads and parking lots.

This is a time to rally and use our strengths to take care of our neighbors and to make ourselves all the stronger. Thank you again for your support! YOU are what makes McGregor Mountain Lodge such a special place for all of us who call the slopes of McGregor Mountain home. We truly, truly, hope to see you soon!

Michael, Chris, Susan, Moises, Steve, Carlos, Tanner, Bently, Alex, & Starbuck

 

{ 6 comments }



Bald Eagle at Lake Estes

August 4, 2013

A great option for a stroll in and around town is the Lake Estes Bike Path. It’s about 3.75 miles if you walk all the way around the lake with great views in all directions and often boasts wonderful bird and wildlife viewing opportunities. I was walking around today with the family and we noticed a bald eagle up in an old dead pine tree on the east side of the lake. As we got closer we saw that it had a fish in its talons and was busy having an afternoon meal. We watched it for about 10 minutes from fairly close. We simply stood and enjoyed seeing this awesome site when out of nowhere a red tailed hawk dive bombed the bald eagle knocking it, and the fish, off of the tree. Both raptors went tumbling into the air before soaring off in opposite directions. It was amazing! I got a few pics of the eagle eating, but didn’t get any of the crazy dive bombing! Enjoy the pics!

Michael

Eating its trout!

Eating its trout!

eagle-2

Looking out over Lake Estes

{ 0 comments }



Home to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is the ideal all-American destination for Fourth of July celebrations. In addition to one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the state (always held on July 4), this quintessential Colorado mountain village offers a variety of family-friendly festivities and events specifically tailored for the holiday, in addition to an abundance of outdoor recreation activities.

Per tradition, July 4 kicks off with the old-fashioned Independence Day Pancake Breakfast - eggs, sausage, juice, coffee, and, of course, pancakes. Headquarters for the breakfast is Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church at 920 Big Thompson Ave. The event is held from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and costs only $6 for adults and $3 for children.

After a hearty breakfast, spend the afternoon enjoying hiking, bike riding, paddle boating, miniature golf or check out the Coolest Car Show. More than 120 “Steam -to-Electric” vehicles will be displayed around Bond Park in the heart of downtown Estes Park. Along with steam and electric cars, other street rods, stock cars, muscle cars, sports cars, vintage and classic cars will be on display from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $5 for adults; $10 for a family of four (two adults, two children- additional kids admission is $2 each); no charge for children 5 & under.

Beginning at noon, you can celebrate Independence Day the old fashioned way at the Old Glory Carnival at the Stanley Hotel. From noon to 6pm, guests can enjoy carnival games and eats on the lawn of the Stanley. Starting at 6pm is a free concert with the band 9s a Pair, followed by a viewing of the fireworks from the lawn. Entrance to the event is free,rides are $3-6 each, parking for non-hotel guests is $10. The Stanley Hotel is a stop on the Estes Park Free Shuttle routes.

At 7 p.m., the Estes Village Band tunes up for its annual patriotic concert featuring the works of John Philip Sousa and others. The concert is free to attend and will be held at the Performance Park Amphitheater, at the west end of downtown.

The Fireworks Show starts at 9:30pm over Lake Estes! You won’t want to miss one of Colorado’s most glorious fireworks displays! Find a grass spot at Stanley Park, along the Lake Estes Trail or on your favorite mountainside to join in this annual tradition of national pride.

Come a day early to enjoy the Red, White & Cool celebration at the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park on July 3rd from 6:30-9pm.  Stay late for additional events and activities!

To make it easier for all Estes Park guests to get around, on July 4th, the Estes Park FREE Shuttles have extended evening service hours so all can easily attend the evening festivities. See the Shuttles page or call 970-577-9900 for more information on the shuttle system.

 

See the full article at VisitEstesPark.com

{ 0 comments }



It’s been a breezy day here in Estes Park, but it hasn’t stopped people from getting out and enjoying the mountains! A guests just came in to book time in the hot tub after a hike up to Bierstadt Lake and then up to Emerald Lake. I’m a bit envious that they were out exploring the park today, but I can’t complain too much. I’m sure there are a handful of you who would love to have my job of hanging out here on the slopes of McGregor Mountain watching the clouds roll by and enjoying the wildlife!

I went for a little bit of a walk this morning with the camera in hand to get some footage of the happenings on property. I was hoping for the elk and the marmots to be out, but they were no where to be found. Instead, I got some landscape footage and a bit of the smaller critters. One Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel in particular posed for me a while and munched on his Iris leaf, had a nice yawn and retreated to get a nap, I’m sure.

Enjoy the video!

Michael
 

{ 0 comments }