One of the best things about living in Colorado is that we are never far from spectacular natural statements! Each season emphasizes a different beauty of the rugged landscape. We have the added bonus of having friends in high places: our neighbors and friends have a summer cabin near Lake Granby (which sits at 8,284 feet elevation), about two hours’ drive from where we live, just outside and west of Denver.
Summer in the high mountains of Colorado can be elusive and moody. Our friends usually open their lake cabin around Memorial Day. We dropped by for a quick visit in late May 2022, then returned in July when we enjoyed a sunny weekend.
The late May drive was clear and we slalomed through snow-covered mountains with ease, first on I-70 W, then onto US-40 W. We passed picturesque pastures and resorts like Winter Park and Fraser. We stopped by Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest and deepest natural body of water (more than 500 acres in surface, and 400 feet at its deepest). Some flowers were starting to bloom by Lake Granby, so I stopped to take some photos. Although, I love the crisp mountain air, the wind picked up cold droplets from the lake and threw them at us angrily, so we moved on. At our friends’ cabin, we settled inside with grilled lunch and played games for a few hours.
We ventured on a walk around the area, checked out the local book library, and found a high point with an expansive lake view. As we walked back to camp, we witnessed a osprey flying above our heads with a good size fish in its talons.
In the evening, we headed back toward Denver before the sun set.
Our second trip to Lake Granby in July was a lot warmer, although we did get some rain (almost always a welcomed event in our state). Another bonus: baby moose! I FINALLY got to see moose. I had traveled all over the US and Canada and I was yet to see one. As we parked the car and headed for a walk through an open space across from Grand Lake Golf Course, we spotted the moose grazing nearby.
The walking path took us through a beautiful area, still scarred by the previous year’s wild fires but bursting with vibrant colors: fuchsia fireweed, lavender bellflowers, violets, lupines and thistle, white chamomile, yellow great mullein and St. John’s wort, and red strawberry blite. As we walked, I picked up some berries which I haven’t seen in the US but absolutely loved in Europe: fragaria virginiana, commonly known as wild strawberries. In Romania, we call them fragi and I always loved them for their delicate vanilla-strawberry taste. I also didn’t know that the leaves were edible, and can be used in teas or salads.
We made it back to the car just in time for a thunderous round of rain to pass through, then walked some more, taking in the beautiful views (some parts giving me a Switzerland vibe). In the evening, we left our friends gathered by the fire, as we drove back home.