We got a slow start this morning, stopping in Fort Collins at the Little Bird Bakeshop for a quiche (for me). Mike had eaten waffles and Alex had eaten leftovers at our Solarium Airbnb.
We drove to Lory State Park, hidden in the foothills twenty minutes west of Fort Collins. Its 2,591 acre landscape includes unique rock outcroppings, sandstone hogbacks, grassy open meadows, shrubby hillsides and ponderosa pine forests. Formerly ranchland, Lory State Park was purchased from the original owners in 1967. It was named after and dedicated to Dr. Charles A. Lory (1872-1969), president of Colorado State University from 1909 to 1940.
At the park, we hiked the Arthur’s Rock Trail. Arthur’s Rock, a jutting granite formation named for an early settler, overlooks the Fort Collins area from an elevation of 6,780 feet. We only hiked to the first scenic overlook. It was supposed to be 1.7 miles each way, but we stopped with 0.6 miles still to the summit. Mike was having his AFib (Atrial fibrillation — an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications) and was worried about pushing it too much. Besides, we were all getting hungry for lunch.
We were graced with a delicate breeze and blue skies. Grasses danced, birds chirped, and we enjoyed fabulous views over the north side of Horsetooth Reservoir. We wound through forested mountainsides and open meadows. We traveled through different ecosystems in the 1,000 foot elevation change.
After our hike, we ate lunch at Lucille’s Creole Cafe in Fort Collins. We ordered the powdered sugar beignets (ben-yay), the state doughnut of Louisiana. Beignets were brought to Louisiana in the 1800s by the French Acadians from Nova Scotia. The traditional New Orleans beignet is a square piece of dough deep fried until puffy, served hot and covered in powdered sugar.
We enjoyed quite a feast. I had a popcorn shrimp salad with avocado and cornbread.
Mike had Gumbo: “A grand New Orleans stew. Homemade from ingredients selected daily (okra, chicken) and served with rice and cornbread.” Alex had red beans and rice: “Famous Southern ‘Wash Day’ lunch served with homemade andouille sausage.”
After our hike, we went to New Belgium Brewing. It is supposedly one of the best places to work in the country.
We saw employees drinking beer, a man wearing a wedding dress, a tattooed bartender wearing skin-tight shorts and a wild colorful shirt. There was supposedly a “self-guided tour” but someone was actually explaining things about the brewing process, so we begged off.
Mike and Alex ordered a flight of beer and I just sipped. I was way too stuffed after our lunch at Lucille’s.
Leaving Fort Collins, we drove in heavy traffic south to Denver. We checked in at Hyatt House Denver and Alex and Mike went to Whole Foods nearby for dinner. I ate my leftover popcorn shrimp salad. We got drinks from the Hyatt House Bar – me a Cabernet Sauvignon and Alex a “neat” whiskey. We sat in the hotel room, which was large and comfortable, and the guys watched football while I put up pictures on Instagram and Polarsteps.
*Steps: 10,639, or 4.51 miles*
*Thursday, September 26, 2019*