Our clan of 10 Dunavans left Cheyenne, Wyo., about 11 a.m. that July Thursday and with a stop for lunch arrived at the condo in Keystone, Colo., mid-afternoon.
For those of you who haven’t seen the first two installments of this trilogy, I was awarded four nights and three days in a Keystone condo for being the highest bidder on this vacation package during a fundraising dinner at Concordia Academy in Roseville, Minn.
That was back in November of 2012 and our family decided July 18-21, 2013 was the time to go.
So here we are, at our final destination – Keystone nestled in the unbelievable Rockies.
We parked our vehicles in the condo’s underground garage and proceeded to gather our belongings and to search for the condo that would be our home for the next few days.
As we unlocked the double doors, and if you were listening that day, you may have heard us “oohh” and ”aahh” from many miles away. Several times during our stay, grandson Ethan commended, “this is a really nice hotel.”
This condo has three bedrooms with a bathroom for each, a lovely kitchen with granite countertops, a spacious living room, dining room, utility room (washer/dryer), a balcony with barbecue grill and just down the hall and through another set of doors, a very inviting swimming pool.
The pool was where the four grandchildren and I headed as Jim, our two sons and their wives, planned the menus, compiled a grocery list and made a supermarket run. They returned with all we would need for the entire stay. Each couple would take their turn on KP. Among our feasts: a tasty taco bar, luscious tender steaks, pork tenderloin and bone-in chicken thighs – plus many trimmings. Each gathering around the table was truly a gift.
This picture sort of reminds me of the Robertson family around the Duck Dynasty dinner table.
Jyl researched hiking trails in the area and we chose the Old Lake Dillon Trail so named because it’s near Dillon, Colo., which is a short jaunt from Keystone. The trail’s elevation is right at 9,000 feet. We found it very nicely maintained and easy to follow in single file. All total, the hike gains only about 150 feet and is about a mile and a half long round trip. We enjoyed the wild flowers and the beautiful Aspen trees whose leaves rustled and danced in the breezes.
We spent some time at the top of the trailhead that offered us breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains no matter which direction we faced.
On Friday, John, our nephew from Denver, joined us making our family time even more endearing.
John suggested we drive to the beautiful little resort town of Breckenridge, so we did. It was amazing.
Also surrounded by majestic mountains, we stopped in shops and admired countless spectacular arrays of blooming flowers on every street corner.
After lunch we rode a gondola to the top of the base of Peak 8, where John told us he and Tom, another of our nephews from the farm in North Dakota, have skied.
We spent quite a bit of time at this trailhead thoroughly enjoying the friendly people and the music of Chancer’s Hooley, an Irish band from Denver.
Chancer’s Hooley describes itself as the “best darn Celtic band in the Denver Front Range area,” in their humble opinion. They play a blend of modern and traditional Celtic music along with some great classic rock. They say that if their listeners’ feet aren’t tapping and their heads aren’t bopping, they aren’t doing their job.
Trust me – they were doing their job – as people were not only tapping and bobbing but dancing as well.
What does the name, Chancer’s Hooley mean? Well, nothing really they say, only that it perfectly describes this band. A “Chancer,” is Irish slang for a person who likes taking chances and a “Hooley,” is an Irish jam session or party.
Sunny Sunday morning
From June to September, Dillon’s Community Church holds an outdoor worship service in the Lake Dillon Amphitheatre. In our comings and goings, we had seen the sign so Sunday we were among the worshippers at this service. Extremely moving were both the music and the message.
Sunday afternoon we took a lovely drive to Vail and strolled through the largest farmer’s market I have ever seen. Here, too, the flowers were spectacular and the sweets from a candy shop so yummy.
The heart of the little town of Keystone was a 3-minute walk from the condo. We enjoyed strolling its streets, stopping for frozen yogurt, a Starbucks or just sitting before the crackling bonfire in town square.
Much too soon it was time to say goodbye to Keystone and the condo. We were packed up and ready to head out by 11 a.m. mountain time on Monday. Nephew John, so familiar with the Rockies he loves (us too), led us over Loveland Pass and the Continental Divide, where we stopped for one more John goodbye.
What came to mind as we did so were the words of a poem I have framed in my home:
The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been and the memories we’ve made along the way.
I have titled these last three posts: “Coming down from a Rocky Mountain High.”
Truth is, I’m not down yet.