We woke up to a hearty breakfast at the Wild Horse Inn and discussed our grand plans to for hiking Grand Lake later in the day. We got in the previous afternoon to Fraser, CO, driving in from Denver, and managed to still fit a lot in to the day and the evening. Check out my blog about Devil’s Thumb Ranch and our evening ramblings here.
The breakfast at the Wild Horse Inn did not disappoint. Even though the breakfast times were a little earlier than our liking (8AM, 830AM, and 9AM) – we of course chose 9AM – we rolled in slightly late having just woken up, and got to try two slices of orange zested gooey sourdough french toast with balanced crispy-chewy bacon and tart green grapes.
After breakfast, I settled in to the comfy leather armchair in the great lodge living room and got some Travelport day-job work done – mainly checking emails and a few calls (it was Friday still after all). It was a little busy sitting there with guests coming and going, the phone ringing in the lobby, and the dog Bella barking on and off when she recognized people she knew – but it worked out. Since it was a Friday it was a light day at the office and mostly I just had to get through some emails.
By 2PM I was done with work and we were ready to head out for a hike.
Hiking Grand Lake
There were several nearby options. Raquell recommended that we hike Byers Peak, but Donna at Wild Horse told us to warm up first with Adams Falls at Grand Lake. It was a small waterfall with a large hiking area that west past meadows and another lake that we could take for really as long as we wanted on relatively flat terrain. Getting to hiking Grand Lake was pretty easy – a 40 minute drive from Wild Horse Inn.
We drove directly there and didn’t even stop at the Palisade peach farmer along Granby Lake on the way. (sadly, he wasn’t there on the way back 🙁 )
We saw signs for Grand’s Lake and easily followed them to signs for Adams Falls, which took us to a trail head for hiking Grand’s Lake.
The hike to the actual waterfall was short, crowded, easy, and seemed “fake” – the trail was almost too well constructed and had so many out of shape tourists that it just didn’t seem like a legitimate hike. The falls sucked.
After growing up hiking a lot and seeing so many HUGE waterfalls (Yosemite, Snowqualmie, etc.), these just didn’t do it for us and was a pretty big disappointment. THe good news was that once you continue past the touristic falls part, you can take the meadow trail back in to the mountains for as long as your heart desires. It just keeps going and going, and there weren’t as many people, save a few fly fisherman. They said the fish were jumping.
The landscape was varied, but it was a “warm up” hike – flat and a bit uninteresting with the terrain (mostly swamp and meadow), but with some nice mountain views in the background.
After about 1.5 hours we were bored and headed out of there. The skies never did open up.
On the way out, we stopped by Grand Lake and a had a look. There was also an interesting tunnel we discovered for moving water from Grand and Granby Lake to Greater Denver area called the Adams Tunnel. My parents, being nerdy engineers, were super interested.
On the way back to Fraser, we stopped in the little town of Grand Lake. It was kitsch but charming and reminded me of Hill City, South Dakota on my car trip with Elana last Summer.
We headed back to Wild Horse Inn and were back by 5PM or so, showered up, had some of the bottomless cookies and vino, and prepared for our next eating adventure at the Tabernash Tavern in nearby Tabernash (shocker), about a 2 mile drive away on highway 40, just West of Fraser. The restaurant was not only recommended by Yelp but also by family of friends of my parents back in Los Angeles who live in the Winter Park area.
I was really expecting great things, and had even browsed the menu prior to arriving (it seemed like a solid game restaurant).
We were sat in the main dining area, which had a quaint Americana theme with ski and Colorado sport paraphernalia hung on the walls.
Before getting too comfortable I decided to take a walk out back and check out the town and more importantly the railroad tracks, since now I’m obsessed with trains (as I’m a Rail Product manager at Travelport, managing a travel technology API product that includes rail content for developers).
I was really tempted to lay down on the tracks but there was nobody to take a picture and document it like the time I was in Chugwater, Wyoming. Also, this was probably a working railroad. The industrial aesthetic view was nice at least.
Back inside, I was super excited about ordering the Chipotle Caesar Salad. It was an #epicfail. The lettuce was wilted and soggy. It was overdressed. All the fix-ins were from cans, and they forgot to hold the anchovies. Really not fit to serve.
This was after a sub-par charcuterie board as well – they actually dared to serve Mortadella and those little Pepperidge Farm butterfly crackers. It was just heavy and unrefined.
I was also starting to ruin the mood with my complaining and was hoping the main dishes would save the day. They did!
In order of the pictures – I ordered a Pork Chop with Palisade peach, arugula, bourbon, and corn cilantro salad (delish). My mom ordered a mustard-crusted lamb chop with polenta and hashed veggies, and my dad ordered a venison cutlet duo 10 oz with veggies and mashed potatoes. We all supremely enjoyed the entrees, again leaving no room for dessert.
So the lesson is go to a meat restaurant and order meat, and don’t mess around with the other stuff. 🙂