Barb and the gang left Friday morning leaving us to our own devices. But before going on they left us with their haunting stories from the night before. Apparently, while Gene and I snoozed peacefully, the others received goodbye messages from "The Others".
Barb and John woke up in the middle of the night to their room door swinging wide open. Maybe they forgot to lock it, you might say, EXCEPT, the doors don't work that way here. We had used Barb and John's suite as the official unofficial hospitality suite and while the rest of us tromped in and out, Gene and John had both tried to find a way to prop the door slightly open to save comers in from having to knock every time they came back to the room and also the already ins from having to get up and open the door every time but it wouldn't work. The doors either stood wide open or closed with a click, locking from the outside automatically. And yet....their door swung wide open by itself in the middle of the night. They also heard what sounded like people running up and down the hallway, EXCEPT, when they checked, no one was there.
Diane and Rosie awoke to the tinkling of the metal clothes hangers in their closet in the middle of the night, as well as the sound of someone dropping what sounded like a ball that rolled across the floor above them. Diane rationalized that maybe it was the people in the room above making that noise but the hangers in the closet? As far as they knew they were the only people in their room and they were snug in their beds. I don't think either of them got up to check the closet and I wouldn't have either.
Carol had the most up close and personal experience. She awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of the wind gusting through the trees outside of her room when, still half asleep, her bed shook for several seconds. She thought of the wind, but then coming fully awake realized that the wind was outside while she was inside, her room sandwiched between rooms on either side and floors above and below. It only happened once but that was enough to wake her fully, turning on her TV for light. What channel? The TV's in The Stanley automatically tune to The Shining channel, the homage to Stephen King's novel inspired by this hotel, where the Jack Nicholson/Stanley Kubrick version of the movie plays 24/7. She quickly thought "No way am I watching this right now!" and switched to another channel, staying awake and keeping the TV on until dawn crept over the mountains.
The ghosts of the hotel left Gene and me alone Thursday night as well as last night. What? Am I not attractive enough for ghosts? I feel so rejected. (Kidding, had we had otherworldly visitors, I probably would have been a screamer, waking everyone on our floor.)
After the friends left town, Gene and I wandered out to the car and explored Estes Park. The house above is the original house that the Stanleys built before building the hotel itself. Look familiar? Like a Mini-me? I think so too.
For lunch, we happened upon a local diner where we ate wish-I-could-take-the-recipe-home wonderful home-made pork chili smothered bean/beef burrito (Gene) and taco salad (me) that had that perfect combination of up front spicy chili/pork savory-ness with a minutes-long slow burn ending to help you remember how much you liked it.
Sightseeing--Above, Estes Park Lake. Below, the valley shot from the opposite side of the valley, looking towards, instead of from The Stanley Hotel.
Coming back into town, check out our friendly and slow-moving four-legged crossing guards. It's hard to see from the pic but they are DOZENS of them, lining both sides of the highway, crossing from left to right and then disappearing behind the apartment complex to the right.
Completely non-plussed by the traffic, several even stood in the middle of the highway for a minute or two, sizing all of us up. We may have been bigger but they rule the road and we all know it!
This beautiful guy excited me when he walked so close to the car...until he got really close and then, I admit, I was not unaware of his power and size. They may appear docile but only a fool would assume they're tame or pet-like enough to do anything quick or loud.
I remember my aunt and uncle, who live near Yellowstone, telling stories of hospitalized tourists who'd lost their perspective, getting out of their cars and approaching moose as if they were pets in the zoo. Just because they roam the town freely doesn't mean they're not still wild, and definitely deserve a healthy respect.
Although he seemingly ignored me I could easily see that he was very aware of me hanging out the car window like the elk paparazzi I was for that moment. When he raised his head and looked me full in the eyes, not only did I forget to snap his pic, I was fully back in the car in a snap and had my finger on the window up button.
View from our room window Friday morning, the clouds coming in over the mountaintops with temps dropping from long-sleeve t-shirt to "Where's my sweatshirt?" weather. By 9pm--SNOW! It only lasted a couple of hours but it was beautiful while it happened.
Anyone believe the globes are more than just light reflections off the snow? There are some amazingly bigger ones than just the snowflakes caught in the light. Snowing ghosts at The Stanley? Appropriate, I would say.
The perfect ending for our Colorado trip.