McGregor Mountain Blog

Donating to Crossroads

February 6, 2014

Our 3rd and final month of donations to Crossroads Ministry of Estes Park came to a close with December reservations. We were able to raise an additional $310 to bring our grand total to just under $2,000! December reservations slowed down a bit compared to previous months, but we were still able to give back to our community and couldn’t have done it without your help! So THANK YOU!



click to enlarge

We *really* wish we could have given more, but we were also greatly affected by the flood, financially, with cancellations during our busiest time of year. While we feel very blessed that our property remained in tact with relatively little damage, we did have to get creative in order to help our our neighbors in need. For every reservation taken we would donate $10 to Crossroads. This enabled us to give back to our community in its greatest time of need and encourage people to book with us asap, helping bring cash in to keep the business operating. And it worked! So again, THANK YOU!!

And we are thrilled to have donated to Crossroads here in Estes! Just to fill you in on what they have been doing with our, and many many other, donations, here is a rundown:

Flood Relief Services Provided Through Crossroads Ministry of Estes Park

Flood relief services assist with direct  and indirect impacts of the September 2013 flood for individuals and families of the R-3 School District, whether in Larimer or Boulder Counties, and may include persons displaced by the flood, whose residence is or was outside the school district. Flood relief services are funded through contributions and grants made to Crossroads Ministry that were designated for flood relief.

AS OF 2-04-14

$356,805     flood relief contributions / grants received to date

$208,706     flood relief expenditures to date

$148,099     unexpended balance flood relief contributions/grants

$        770     average cost of an assist

271 flood relief assists to date

  • 113 housing assists: rent, mortgage
  • 49 houshold: generators, water tanks, mold remediation supplies, etc…
  • 32 debris removal, clean up
  • 29 transportation assists: auto rental, lease, other
  • 29 utility assists
  • 16 medical assists
  • 3 laundry assists

As one can see, these donations are going to good use and directly impacting, in a very positive way, victims of the flood. This helped those whose jobs got washed away, who’s homes were uninhabitable but they still had to pay their mortgages AND rent for additional housing, those who could still live in their houses but had no water or power, etc… It helped those who had their transportation stuck across the river or whose vehicle had been washed away. Helped many who needed massive amounts of debris cleared or cleaned up. The point is, these donations were a huge benefit to many and an answer to a lot of hurting people’s prayers.

THANK YOU! From all of us here at McGregor and the Estes Valley!

Crossroads is still anticipating a need for flood relief and assists well into 2015. The ’emergency’ phase of their flood relief is wrapping up, but there will be an ongoing need for assists, especially for the lower income individuals and families of the area. If you feel that you would like to help, you can make a donation to Crossroads here:

Be sure to make the donation for ‘Estes Park Flood Relief.’

Crossroads of Estes Park can also be contacted by calling 970.577.0610 or by visiting the following page:


Brat on a sub zero morning!

February 5, 2014

When I got out of bed this morning the sun was lighting the peaks along the divide with a gentle red glow and the thermometer was reading -20F (-29C). I had brought the plow truck home last night to knock the fresh snow off the driveway, so went out really quick to fire it up and give it a chance to get warm before plowing and making the trip to the lodge. It struggled to turn over, but started up just fine, considering. But by the time I was on the way back in my nose was frozen and hands were getting cold! We get cold temps here in the mountains, but 20 below is certainly not the norm… so it’s always kind of fun to experience.

As I pulled into the lodge I noticed Brat right away. He was lounging in front of our Columbine Cottage #3 chewing some cud. His whiskers were covered in frost along with his legs and back! He even had a little frosty mohawk in between his antlers. After I was done plowing, I grabbed the camera and snapped a few pics!

It’s a beautiful day in the high country! We wish you were here to experience it with us!




Moving Forward!

September 27, 2013


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.


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!



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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.


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



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!


Eating its trout!

Eating its trout!


Looking out over Lake Estes