*Yawn* I have yet to recover from our whirlwind weekend to Colorado.  We headed out from KC around 6:00 Friday evening.  A stop in Lawrence provided both of us with 5 shot Lattes.  While, it was nice to have some extra energy, Dustin would not shut up!  Now, I love chatting with my partner and all, but he hardly paused to take a breath.  This continued until Hays, KS.  We stopped to get a bit of grub and gas.  Dustin also grabbed us a few 5 hour energy drinks.  These didn’t seem to give Dustin quite the chattiness, but did provide us enough energy to plow through Kansas and eastern Colorado.  Feeling pretty sleepy, Dustin and I pulled over at a rest area outside of Denver and got a few, albeit uncomfortable, hours of sleep in the truck.  Wanting to get into Fort Collins, Dustin and I pulled out of the rest area at sunrise. 

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Giving into our crazy craving, we headed straight to Fort Collins, even though our first appointment was near Carter Lake.  You see, we love this little place called Wild Boar Coffee, and after a less than comfy night in the truck, we both needed our caffeine jolts.  Wild Boar was delicious, as usual.  After John and Rachel told us they were delayed a bit, so we decided to go ahead and drive through the Big Thompson Canyon to check for rentals.  We didn’t see any of those, but wow we were in for a wildlife treat.  Pulling over at the entrance to Roosevelt National Forest, we talked about how much we wanted to see a Big Horn.  I told Dustin that Chris had told me that they are in the area, and if you drive the highway enough you’ll eventually see them.  We laughed because we knew our luck would not be good enough to see them the first try, and I hopped out to snap some pics of the water.  I am snapping away, when Dustin whisper yells at me.  I think he is scolding me for climbing over the railing, but then I look up and see him pointing to the edge of the mountain.  Staring intently at Dustin and I are two male Big Horn Sheep.  They were truly a majestic sight, and made our all-night driving worth it.

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Rejuvenated from our wildlife encounter, Dustin and I kept driving.  During the drive, Dustin became more and more animated about fishing.  He said, yeah we totally should have fished a bit this weekend.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  He then goes onto talk about how he needs to start tying again and fishing this and fishing that.  My theory about getting him close to the water was correct, he did remember just how much he loves to fish.  The only problem, he didn’t remember that when we were packing our stuff on Friday.  Then it was, we don’t have time!!  GRRR! 

Right after Drake, CO we noticed a few cars pulled over on the side of the road.  Immediately knowing there must be something to see, Dustin and I pull over as well.  Right outside the truck window, are a small herd of Big Horns.  One was maybe 6 feet from me!  I could not believe it!  I so long have wanted to see Big Horn Sheep, and a day when I least expect it I get to see them twice!

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By this time, Dustin is desperate to see some Elk, so we decide to go ahead and drive onto into Estes Park, as if we had not drove enough already.  Estes did not disappoint.  Right in the middle of town, Elk were grazing.  We just had to laugh at this point; this trip was such an antithesis of our July trip where we saw hardly any wildlife.

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Commenting that we really need to get down to business, we turn around and head back to Carter Lake so we can look at John and Rachel’s place.  While we did not see any wildlife on this drive, John and Rachel filled us in on our their wildlife experiences at their house.  Mountain lions and bears are pretty common place; evidence of the lions came in the form of a deer in a tree on their property.  WOW.  This is definitely going to be a new experience for us.  I sure am glad the yard is fenced in with a 9ft fence complete with razor wire.  Yikes.  Needless to say, the place has amazing views.  At night, all of Loveland and Fort Collins is visible. 

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Headed up to John and Rachel’s place

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Upon leaving, Dustin and I headed into Fort Collins to meet with Marylea.  Dustin described her as me, but older.  I felt a total connection with this woman, and her house.  I loved it there.  Marylea commented how much Dustin and I will love the area, and how we did not seem like the Kansas City people she has came across.  We took this as a compliment.  She is right, we don’t quite fit in here in KC.  Speaking with Marylea made our decision quite difficult.  This is definitely a woman we want to keep in contact with.  After visiting with Marylea, Dustin and I grabbed some lunch at Spoons in Old Town, and then drove up into the Poudre Canyon.  Again, Dustin started in with the fishing.  Again, I wanted to slap him upside the head 🙂  If trying to convince us we are making the right decision to move, more Big Horn appeared.

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We kept driving, for what reason I am not sure, perhaps because Dustin had not seen a mule deer yet.  Well, the stars aligned and we got to see some of those as well.  It was quite the productive weekend for wildlife.  Deciding to end on a good note, Dustin and I headed back to KC Saturday evening.  We made into Kansas, and stopped at the first rest stop we could find once we crossed the border.  We got a pretty decent amount of sleep Saturday night, and felt slightly rejuvenated for the last leg of the trip.  We pulled into our drive about 10:40am.  It was nice to have all day Sunday to veg.  Heaven knows we needed it after our weekend as Road Warriors and wildlife spotters.

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I can’t believe Dustin and I will be living in such a magical, earth centered place.  The new year cannot come soon enough.  I do wonder when Dustin will pick up the vise again…I bet he’s tied before we head back in December.

-Stephanie

Written by Stephanie Mullins

12 Comments

Cofisher

Sounds like you're moving to Colorado? I can't think of any negatives there. Bears wander into the suburbs along with deer, elk, coyotes, Fox and transients from Boulder.

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Casey

Awesome, Awesome photos! That would be sweet to run across that kind of wildlife on a road trip. Along with the wildlife, I hear there is good fishing there, also! Good luck to you!! Who wouldn't love the scenery around there?!?

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Mel

First of all, I just want to say what a fantastic post this was. The pictures were outstanding. Hard to believe that much wildlife can be seen in a short period of time. Many years ago, I lived in the area and fished Carter Reservoir regularly, The Big Thompson, and, Estes Park waters. You will love it there!

Thanks for adding my blog to your blogroll and now I am off to add yours to My BlogBuddy page.

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Stephanie & Dustin

COfisher – Yes, we are moving to the Fort Collins area in January. I am continuing my education at CSU. Better late than never. We are so excited about the move, we can't think of any negatives either. The amount of fishing we can do will go up exponentially.

Joe – Thanks! Seeing sheep so close, and so often really made our trip.

Casey – Thanks! We hear the fishing is great too, and I can't wait to wet a line. Everywhere I look the scenery takes my breath away.

Mel – Thank you for the compliments. We are anxious to fish those same waters you did. I have a feeling you are right, we will love it there. Thanks for the blog add as well 🙂

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troutrageous1

Wow! So many great pictures. Your first paragraph made me chuckle. My wife went to school in Lawrence (KU) and always told me the drive across the state toward Colorado was like death. She was adamant about that…and also to never go to Topeka.

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Wolfy

Great report and pics. While the sheep are pretty common in the Thompson Cayon, seeing those big rams isn't – at least not for me. Fyi – the entire Big Thompson, from the point where it enters the canyon to the headwaters has trout , many times a LOT more and bigger fish than you'd expect. They can be tough, but they're fun!

You guys are moving to heaven!

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Cofisher

Stephanie, you'll love the Ft. Collins area. Lots of terrific fishing and scenery. I used to live there many lifetimes ago. We'll have to meet up sometime. I love fishing the Poudre.

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Stephanie & Dustin

Michael – A KU Alumnus, your wife must be AWESOME. My heart is in Lawrence, but I have to move on because they don't offer my degree. I was trying to be nice in my post, but the drive across Kansas is like dying a slow torturous death. Nothing to look at besides the you are going to hell posters sprinkled in with a few of Jesus in cornfields. The highway is straight, no curves to keep you on your toes, and it lasts for HOURS! Brutal is putting nicely. Topeka is like a dirty toilet, best way I can describe it. She's a smart woman to avoid there.

Wolfy – We feel like we are moving to Heaven. We keep pinching ourselves because we can't believe we are going to call this place home.

Cofisher – I am going to hold you too that meeting up; I can't wait to fish the Poudre.

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Bigerrfish

Stephanie, I wanted to thank you for your comments and give you one, Sweet wildlife pics! and I like your writing style. When you get to Colorado look me up Im a few hours from Ft. collins but I could show you a big fish and Dustin a mule deer of a lifetime!

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