RMNP Tour Notes

The following prose represents a few Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) tour notes from Saturday August 1 through Monday August 3, 2009 trip. This year the third time shifted wedding anniversary vacation weekend involved traveling to RMNP. Without question or argument, every American should time the time to visit RMNP. The National Park Service provides Americans with access to truly beautiful surroundings. The scenic vistas and glorious natural spender of RMNP are truly without question a real national treasure.

The advent of digital photography has transformed the technology people utilize while touring national parks. For example, the current panoramic photography project endeavor involves attempting to visit every national park. In response to the demands of the project, several national park tours have involved amassing hundreds if not thousands of digital photos during the past few years.

Each national park tour has unique merits. Based on personal preference and informed observation one national park stands above the rest. Tours of this particular national park have been more frequent than any other park under the current panoramic photography national park tour project. RMNP located just outside Estes Park, Colorado is within driving distance of Boulder, Colorado. With good traffic conditions, a responsible driver can travel from Boulder, Colorado to RMNP in about one hour. The proximity to Boulder, Colorado probably helps drive traffic to this national treasure.

Before the vacation, it seemed like a good idea to visit at least one Colorado winery. During the recent trip, two wineries in Colorado received consideration. First, the Snowy Peaks Winery and tasting room resides within the borders of Estes Park, Colorado. Second, located in Lyons, Colorado the Ciatano Winery resides between Boulder, Colorado and Estes Park, Colorado. Both winery tastings went well. Colorado wines are interesting and the process of growing grapes in Colorado merits further study.

Without question, RMNP provides scenic visits within reasonable hiking distances. Colorado residents have noticed the recent heavy rains throughout the state. Some of the trails throughout RMNP were very muddy and the streams and lakes were very full. Joni thought it would be a good idea to hike to a few lakes including Bear Lake, Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, Lake Haiyaha, and Bierstadt Lake. The switchback hike from the Bierstadt Trailhead to Bierstadt Lake was surprisingly panoramic. Strangely enough, the park service has noted, “Temporary closures may occur at picnic and trailhead parking areas as park staff remove trees killed by an outbreak of native pine beetle.” The native pine beetle could really damage the natural splendor of RNMP. I hope the National Park Service is able to combat and defeat the native pine beetle.

After visiting the Ciatano Winery, it seemed like a good idea to visit the Wings West chicken wing emporium to get an afternoon snack in Estes Park, Colorado. During the middle of the afternoon, very few patrons were frequenting the establishment. The BBQ wing sauce was mild and pleasant. The habenero flavor in the Super Hot wing sauce provided a slow burning aftertaste following the flavorful initial rush of spicy chicken wing sauce. Overall, the Wings West experience probably would be better during happy hour to get the full fledged chicken wing experience.

After visiting the Ciatano Winery and Wings West, it was time to get ready to visit the Twin Owls Steakhouse.

Review of the Twin Owls Steakhouse

Dinner at the Twin Owls Steakhouse in Estes Park, Colorado provided to be entertaining when the sprinkler system caused a marmot to run by the dining room window. For a Sunday night during the peak of the summer vacation season, the Twin Owls Steakhouse was remarkably slow. I had made the reservation about one month in advance. Keep in mind the Twin Owls Steakhouse typically only takes reservations starting at one month before the reservation.

Joni and I decided to forgo appetizers. After reviewing the menu, none of the appetizers seemed well appetizing…

In terms of entrees, I ordered a very decent, but not spectacular New York strip steak from the menu with a ranch house salad. The chef decided to put a few craisins on the salad. The New York strip steak preparation involved a combination of black and green peppercorns blended into a bourbon sauce served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Joni decided to order and was very pleased with the stuffed pork tenderloin. The chef stuffed the pork tenderloin with asadero cheese, black beans, and a very interesting green chili stuffing. Combined with mash potatoes and seasonal vegetables, several slices of the pork tenderloin were plated with a creamy sage sauce. Joni had and enjoyed the chef recommended Carmel Road Pinot Noir with the stuffed pork tenderloin.

Dinner concluded with dessert. In this case, dessert involved a classic raspberry cheesecake.

Overall, the Twin Owls Steakhouse is located within beautiful surroundings in Estes Park, Colorado. The food was very good, but the preparation and style feels somewhat old-fashioned. However, given that the dinner was scheduled as part of a wedding anniversary weekend getaway vacation everything was perfect.