August 10, 2017

Vail trip

I am now back from 9 days in Colorado and have caught up with most of the chores that piled up when I was gone, even more in this case because Dave and I were both away. Several people have asked how it was in Vail, and would I recommend a vacation there, so here is a summary of our trip.

Vail is a tourist town, a ski resort 100 miles west of Denver created in the mid 1960ís. Its cobblestone streets and faux Bavarian architecture reminded me of Disneyland near the bobsled ride. The Jewish community in Vail is larger than I would have thought for a city with an official population of merely 5500. But that doesnít count the thousands of visitors, and perhaps not the part-time inhabitants. Most of the wealthiest Jews of Vail also have homes elsewhere, especially the summer residents from Texas and Florida. Summer is as popular, or more, than ski season, and the streets were crowded with families, many speaking foreign languages.

Nestled along the Gore Creek and surrounded by mountains, Vailís alpine scenery is beautiful. My husband and I planned to fill each day with outdoor pursuits: hiking, biking, white-water rafting. But the 8000 ft elevation was a problem for me, who lives literally at sea level. It took me 4 days of limiting myself to activities around town to get over the worst of my altitude sickness before we tackled the higher elevations. But I persevered and it was worth it.

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There were several pleasant local trails along the creeks, but for me our trip had several highlights. 1] A 3/4-day raft trip down the Colorado River through the magnificent Glenwood Canyon, which included several class 2 and 3 rapids. 2] A 4-mile hike up Shrine Pass that took us through meadows of gorgeous varieties of wildflowers before reaching a ridge that provided fabulous views of the surrounding peaks. A truly breath-taking, in both meanings, hike [see my web blog for photos]. 3] A 25-mile bicycle ride around Dillon Lake [water reservoir for Denver], interrupted by two short hail storms. Summer weather in the Colorado Rockies is notorious for sunny or party cloudy mornings followed by intermittent thunderstorms that clear by evening. 4] Shabbat morning services with music provided by Jewish bluegrass band Nefesh Mountain at Eagle Nest. A standing-room only crowd of several hundred prayed and sang together in a service that was awesome in the original sense of the word, especially doing Esa Einai atop Vail Mountain [11,500 ft elevation]. Watch the video, and more, on the bandís website

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Posted by maggie at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)