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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Praries and Beer

~Wednesday, November 4, 2020~

Day 143

Still no election results...and a razor thin margin. I don’t think anyone would have predicted this to be this close of a race. By the time you read this post, we’ll already know who will be leading our country for the next 4 years. Let’s hope whoever it is, turns this country around in a BIG way!

We were trying to get on with our sightseeing earlier but when we got the signal that drains were starting to back up, it was sadly time to make a run to the dump station with the Blue Boy. I guess one park ranger who wasn’t much older than our son, Shane, was so intrigued with what we were pulling behind us, he stopped at our site when we were done to ask what it was. He thought it was a wagon. For those of you that don’t know what a BlueBoy is, it’s a way for us to transport gray/black tank water to a dump station without having to re hitch and bring the whole rig over to the dump station. Usually we time Sadie’s baths and my hair washing when we have full hookups since I think those two tasks take up ⅔ of the gray tank (kidding….but close).

What we love so much about Colorado is the fact it has 4 seasons, is surrounded by beautiful mountains, and has a generous amount of open prairies. Today’s destination did not disappoint with a remote drive to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area (about a 45 minute drive from Horsetooth Reservoir).

As you get closer to the natural area, there is about a 9 mile well-kept dirt road leading you to the gate. We did not know dogs were not allowed, so Sadie had to hunker down in the car for a bit. One of the most important things to see here is the Lindenmeier Archaeological site overlook. Excavations that took place here, date human existence here over 10,000 years ago. It is the most extensive Folsom Culture site anywhere, and is a National Historic Landmark. We didn’t have time for a long hike, so opted for the Towhee Trail which is a little over 3 miles. A really cool meandering hike with only about a 500 elevation gain, we hit it right before sunset which was cutting it a little close. There were signs telling us the park closes at sunset and we were afraid we’d get locked in since the gate looked like an automatic gate. So the last mile we were basically in a jog. And flying like a bat out of *%#@ to get through the gate. We made it! It was right as we got through the gate, we saw the bison. Thank goodness there was a little sun left for us to watch about 5 of them. Of the 19,000 acres of wide-open landscape, the bison have 1000 acres to roam free here in this fenced area. When Fort Collins purchased the land in 2004, their vision was to protect plant and animal species, and equally important, reintroduce Bison and the Black Footed Ferret to this land. Sadly, Bison became nearly extinct by their massive slaughter in the 1800’s, so bringing them back to this area was essential. These bison are direct descendents of the Yellowstone species.

After that wonderful experience, it was time to visit a few breweries in Fort Collins. Did you know that Fort Collins is the craft beer capital of Colorado? So we had to stop at, at least one while we were here. We found a jackpot of a place called Odell Brewing Co., which is on the outskirts of downtown.

The facility is huge so it makes sense that it is in more of an industrial area, but has a family brew pub feel. It’s really cool that their employees get to experiment with brewing, create a beer, then allow guests to taste the results. We sat at a large fire pit area which we shared with another couple and enjoyed their Odell IPA. They were definitely hyper-sensitive about the COVID guidelines-i.e. Certain routes to the restrooms, no waiting staff to take or bring orders, wear a mask when not seated, etc. I get it….they don’t want to get shut down, as many establishments have.

Fun times in Colorado. It’s hard to believe we’ve already seen 30+ days come and go in this lovely state. There is so much to like and we certainly packed a lot in. We will certainly fill in the blanks of what we missed on another visit. Looking forward to New Mexico!

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