Home, Estes, Home . . .

Four years, 7 months and 21 days ago I loaded up the Buick, scooped up the Yorkie and headed west toward Colorado.

images-6I visibly remember the anticipation and excitement I felt when coasting into town, passing the Estes Park welcome sign, making the curve, and experiencing those mountains wrapping me in a massive hug.

In the few years earlier, I had vacationed in Estes 3 or 4 times and remembered visiting a few shops, snapping pictures of the sauntering elk and  sipping a few samples of wine.  It was in making this my home that I actually became intimately acquainted with this village that is alive with all things possible.

To be fair and truthful, I came to Estes only because my daughter, and then son-in-law, visited, felt the mountain tug, and relocated to nearby Pinewood Springs.  I was perfectly content in visiting a couple of times a year and returning to my life, career and routine in Illinois, until my daughter announced a baby was coming, and my lifelong dream became my call of duty.  Now, I cannot imagine being anywhere else.

Estes Park is a mountain community where the finest, the fittest, the nicest and the most giving people live.  This sounds unrealistically flowery, but it is the truth.  Everyone is a neighbor eager to make me feel like I am the missing ray of the sun. We are a happy people.

A small amount of people live here, and a massive amount of people visit here.  In that first summer, I did not know what to think of the “Invaders” who landed here to take over for 5 or 6 months, but over time, as I have fallen in love with Estes Park, it is flattering that guests from all over the world feel that our quaint village is a destination worth visiting.  It is enjoyable to answer their many questions and take the opportunity to boast about home.

The weather in Estes is what the weather is.  When hearing of snow coming, we hope in feet instead of inches, and when spring arrives, we disconnect the cable TV, grab the sunscreen and head outdoors.  It is true that it gets a bit breezy up here at 7,522 feet, but I have come to appreciate it and hang on to my hat!  The meteorologist never upsets us because we know whatever is heading our way, we will not only deal with it, but will enjoy it!

You only need to read the two Estes Park publications, The Estes Park News, Inc., and The Trail Gazette, to know that you are safe here.  In my nearly five years living here, I’ve heard of 3 minor burglaries.  We do jay walk and sometimes speed, and may keep a library book past its due date, but, fortunately, this never makes the newspapers.  We offer a safe haven.

Estes is a magnet that draws the quirky, the settled, the adventurer, the reclusive, the talented, the entertained. Remembering the hundreds of people I’ve met, many of whom I now call friends, the unspoken user agreement is that anyone who is honest and kind and respectful of their surroundings, is alright.  We are an accepting bunch.

You will, when visiting Estes Park, always see fun and interesting things, like Santa Claus in June on vacation, or hundreds of rubber ducks bobbing along The Big Thompson River, scurries of ghosts and goblins, dancers and pirates at the city-wide trick-or-treat party, rodeo parades, magicians, Bob Denver look-a-like singing Rocky Mountain High, men marching in traditional Scottish kilts, or, like today, an old man doing push-ups in the middle of Barlow Plaza.  We are a comfortable place.

This is the town where the mayor spends a morning reading Green Eggs and Ham to a handful of preschoolers and a police officer holds the hand of a little boy crossing a busy street.  I know the names of the children of the woman where I pay my electric bill, and at my bank, the teller saves his DQ coupons for Zia.  The clerk at the pharmacy wears a sign around her neck offering free hugs, and she means it!  My favorite breakfast stop has my tea ready before I hit the booth, and the theatre sells me popcorn when I have no plans to see a movie.

The way I see it, when I moved here, and had an address, I was a resident.  When I adopted the community and its people, I became a citizen.

Since arriving on July 7, 2008, I have experienced several triumphs and many tragedies.  Estes Park is a peaceful place, and the only stress is what you imagine.   No matter what is happening, the mountains reach out, the solitude whispers, the river soothes, and the people care.  With the triumphs, I am free to dream the bigger dream, and in my tragedies, I found strength to move on toward another day.

The mountains, the village, the citizens share with me an idyllic setting I call home – a wonderful, fun, perfect-for-me home.

Deciding that I have no words worthy to describe the beauty that surrounds me every day, I am choosing instead to let my friend, Dick Orleans’s breathtaking photography convey to you where words are lacking.  All photographs except the opening image of the Estes sign, which is a stock photo, and the photo of the River Walk, which I took, belong to Dick, and I am sharing them with his gracious permission.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Terry
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 04:13:20

    Excellent reading and a great way to start my morning! You are such a talented writer and I can just see the day when you will be sitting in a quaint Estes Park book store signing copies of your new book.

    Reply

  2. Stephanie
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 07:27:00

    Living in Estes has felt like a constant transition for me and unfortunately has never truly felt enough like “home” to me. I know I will miss parts of it when we eventually move on, but reading this assures me that I am not the kind of person to truly appreciate the permanent residency of Estes–you, however are. You take full advantage of its offerings and give back with ardor. You are the kind of permanent resident that Estes really needs. 🙂

    Reply

  3. Ness
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 09:39:44

    I.AM.SOOOOO. THERE! I met Estes Park in 1995 on a church youth trip and fell in love. Your pics just put me over the edge. I will start preparing and after Michael gets back in August 2014 we are joining your community. Thank you for posting this…I have always enjoyed your writing and perhaps Chamber of Commerce in Estes Park needs your expertise. I’d move there tonight if I could!

    Reply

  4. dachsielvr
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 09:42:39

    I’m sold….will be there by Fall 2014….have to get son home from Saudi Arabia in August 2014. Have so many questions about renting with a small dog, if a person on oxygen can handle that level of altitude and the quality of the hospital/doctors there, especially cardiac and pulmonary and internists. The pics sold me. I first fell in love with Estes Park in 1975 on a church Youth Trip…now I want to spend my golden years there. Promise me you’ll stay so I will know someone. You are allowed trips, just make sure to return. 🙂

    Reply

  5. Joy
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 15:21:13

    Hi there! I am currently working on a pilot presentation in Los Angeles about Estes Park, and am looking for people to speak to about the community, and find out who might be interested in participating. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have done a lot of research, but feel that talking to the people of your community would be much more beneficial. I can be reached at tvcasting20@gmail.com Again, any help or information would be super appreciated.

    Reply

  6. Randall R. Maharry, M.D.
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 14:45:41

    Well stated!

    Randall  Maharry

     WHERE IS THE ANGER OVER  IRAQ ,  AFGANISTAN,  LYBIA  &  SYRIA ???

    ________________________________

    Reply

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