I have to admit, I was excited to visit Dan and Doc, however I didn't think I would like the weather or the 'rough living' lifestyle. However I LOVED it!! The entire trip was great!!! I couldn't have asked for a better time... thanks so much Dan, Nate & Doc for such a wonderful time at Outwest Guides!!!
I arrived Wednesday morning and actually was early... can you believe it!?!?! We landed before 9am, and my arrival time was scheduled for 9:15am!! I was super excited as I arrived in the *huge* Aspen airport and went to baggage claim to meet up with Dan however he was nowhere to be seen. Ok, I thought, I'll get ready... so I went to the bathroom and came back out. Still no Dan. I walked to the cafe, the store and back to the baggage claim (those are the only places available for Dan to wait inside) but he wasn't there. I called his phone but it went straight to voicemail so I left a message. I walked around some more and found a magazine about Aspen. I took a picture inside the airport. I sat and played solitaire on my phone. Still no sign of my brother. Weird...
I left a few more messages on his phone before he finally picked up. He was on his way and thought that I was supposed to land after 10am. Oops! Miss communication. I walked outside and realized I needed more cloths on. Since I had some time I went back into the restroom and put on my long underwear (I kept calling them my underpants to Dan & Nate which made them laugh). I sat back down and started reading the Aspen magazine. Quite interesting I have to say!
Around 10am Dan did make it to pick me up and we went to a Round-Up that the local outfitters were having. It was the first time they had gotten together like this and it was to build comradely between the outfitters. Apparently outfitters can get quite nasty if they aren't friends so they are trying to build rapport with each other. And, I was able to watch how they each take care of their horses, how the saddle up, how they pack the mules as well as hear a bunch of cowboy/outfitter stories!!
Once we had lunch we all packed up and headed out. Dan, Nate and I went to town to do some grocery shopping and to pick up a few things needed back at the ranch. Once home to Nate's cabin we sat a minute and then went to let the horses out. Finally we ate dinner... I was famished!! It was the best fajitas that I have ever had :)
After dinner Dan and I went to his cabin... which is AWESOME!! It is the coolest place I have seen. It was built in the 1800's by a sheep herding family. It is all propane (no electricity up there), has a bathroom, small kitchen, living room with a couch and wood burning stove, and an upstairs loft with 2 beds. It's very rustic and absolutely cool! Well, cool and it was cold so Dan did a very, very good job of keeping the fire going so I would stay warm all night... what brotherly love!!
Side note, even Nate's cabin has no electricity. They do all heat by wood burning stove however Nate's place has solar power and a back up generator so he has a computer, TV & radio.
Wednesday night Dan and I chatted while drinking beers by the fire. Can you believe it... I had a beer... well 1/2 a can. I drank the second 1/2 the next night... haha!!
Rise and shine sleepy head! We woke up at 6:30am... ugh early!! Much earlier than I wake up at home. But there is work to be done. Dan made some coffee while I got dressed. After drinking our cup we drove to the horses. The weather was awful Thursday morning... rainy and c-c-cold!! Dan rounded the horses and then we made it to Nate's for breakfast. Dan and Nate had cereal and I had left-over fajitas!! No milk for me!!
Dan was supposed to take out a ride in the A.M. however with the weather so bad they moved the ride to the next day. Instead, Dan went out and pounded fence posts while Nate and I stayed in and worked on the website and fliers I have been putting together. After getting that together Dan came in for lunch and then back out to work. Nate and I drove down to the mailbox (which is at the bottom of the mountain). On the way back up we picked up Dan and we headed in to watch a movie. Nate decided that with this kinda weather work was done for the day.
Of course, as soon as we headed in the sun came out. It was still pretty chilly but it was nice to see sun. We watched the movie, changed and went to town for dinner and a rodeo. It was my first rodeo, but Nate says it doesn't count. I did, however, get to wear a real cowboy hat!! Fun stuff!! We ate dinner at the only fast food joint that is in Carbondale... subway. I haven't ate there in forever but it was really good. The rodeo had a few people bull riding (like 7) and Nate thought they were all horrible. Most the rest of the 3 hours was spent watching kid events. It was hilarious!!
Friday was BEAUTIFUL!! Couldn't ask for a better day so Dan and I walked to the horses so he could round them up and then we headed to Nate's place for breakfast. After breakfast I watched Dan get the 3 horses ready so we could go for our ride. I didn't realize how much work went into saddling up the horse. Once he was done we headed into Marble to pick up the rider then the 3 of us went on a 2 hour ride up and back down the mountain. It was beautiful and I took a ton of pictures (don't want Mom to be mad and she totally would be if I missed any photo opportunity)!
After our ride I made Dan and me lunch. Nate had been out shoeing horses and had already had his lunch. I made grilled egg and ham sandwiches. I haven't had that combo before but I have to say it was really good!! Love cowboy food!! After lunch Dan went back to work while I cleaned up. When I went back out Nate and Dan were working on two horses. They had to trim the hoofs and then work on taming them. It was fun to watch Dan and Nate work in the Round Pen. Dan is just learning how to tame horses and Nate has been doing it since he was 10 so he mostly watched and gave instruction to Dan. When needed Nate would step in and show Dan what he needed to learn. I took a ton of pictures and you will absolutely love them all!
Then it was time for dinner. There is one restaurant in the town of Marble called The Cook Shack, a BBQ joint, and its only open Thursday thru Sunday. Luckily it was Friday so we were able to eat there! Dan and Nate saddled the horses (I helped by brushing them) and we rode down to dinner. I had yummy pulled pork, coleslaw, and corn with jalapeno corn bread. Dan and Nate had their burger... all great!! Dan and I finished the night with a piece of chocolate cake!! Yumm-O!!
By the time we made it back up to the ranch it was dark! Dan and I had a quick beer by the fire and then went to bed! We were exhausted but back up by 6:30am to get ready, round up the horses, and go to Nate's for breakfast. Once done, Dan and I went to saddle the horses... once again I brushed them. This time we were going with Ken's son and niece. Ken is the owner of the ranch and his family spends time up there in the summer. We were going out to show the niece how Dan and Nate horseback ride so she can do a few rides and work for them for a month as well as take me on my last ride of the trip.
It was beautiful again... it could make a city girl turn country in an instant! Once again I took many pictures and enjoyed being horse-back. After a few hours we headed back home so I could clean up, pack and have a quick lunch before heading to the airport. My flight was scheduled for 4:30pm.
We made it down and into Aspen with a few minutes to spare so Dan and Nate drove me thru the town so I could see it and then into the airport. After our good-bye's I went thru security and waited for my plane. At 4pm they loaded us in, gave us the speech, and took us down the runway. Then the pilot came on speaker to announce that the Denver airport was shut down. We waited on the plane for 3o minutes then he came back on again to say it would be at least another hour so the drove us back to the terminal and we waited in there. At 6:30pm they said that it would be at least another hour before they would know more and my flight to ATL from DEN was at 7pm. Since I would miss the connection and the only open fight from DEN was at 7pm Sunday I decided to change my flight to Sunday from Aspen at 1:30pm.
I tried and tried to get in touch with Nate and Dan but in the mountains that can be difficult. I knew they were doing laundry so I called the only laundrymat in Carbondale but the lady said they had just left. I left a few messages on the house phone and Nate's cell but the cell was out of service and they had a few stops they took before going home so they didn't get back until after I decided to get a hotel in Aspen. Even if they had come got me after they got home it would have been at least 11pm before we would have made it home and then Dan would have had to take another 1/2 day to get me back. Mom suggested (since I was about in tears from exhaustion she actually more decided) that I get a hotel. I stayed at the the Inns at Aspen which had a shuttle and was the cheapest available. Luckily it was only about 1 mile from the airport (or less) so I was quickly there. I found out they had a hot tub so I found my room, threw on my swim suit, and went straight for the tub. It was great!! Very relaxing. After my quick dip I went back to my room and went right to sleep.
The next morning I went to their free breakfast which was amazing. I made waffles with strawberries, grapes, an egg, and tons of coffee while reading a newspaper. I don't know if I have ever really read a newspaper before! Ha!
After breakfast I packed up and took the shuttle into Aspen. I spent about an hour walking around... most shops were closed since it was Sunday morning but I enjoyed it and once again took a lot of pictures. With the number that I took, I think I made Mom proud!
At 12:30 I was back in the Aspen airport, this time the plane took off and I was able to sit next to a man named Chris who I had a great conversation with. Once we landed I waited to pick up my bag that I had curb checked (wouldn't fit in the overhead bin). We were outside since the plane was so little but it started to lightning around the airport so they moved everyone inside and we had to wait to get our baggage until after the lightning passed. I was in Denver at 2pm and had until 7pm for the next flight. I walked the airport, found where the 2nd leg of my journey was to depart from, looked around a few shops, found where I wanted to eat dinner, and then found a quiet spot to do some work reading. After reading I pulled out my laptop to take notes and found that there is free wifi in the Denver airport. So at 5pm I grabbed some dinner, found a table, pulled the laptop back out and checked emails and did some work. I also spent time uploading pictures and chatting with a few people in the airport. One man I chatted with was going to Detroit to look into purchasing an old Ford plant (for work, of course) to tear it down and build something else. Interesting stuff!
My flight to Atlanta, of course, was delayed but we made it out at 8:30pm Denver time and landed in Atlanta after 1:30pm EST. Ouch! Then we found out that they turn the Atlanta airport trams off at midnight so we would be walking from D terminal to baggage claim. And the bag that I curb checked would have to be picked up there. So we all walked the 6 hubs to baggage claim and the bags hadn't even started flowing yet! It felt like the trip home that would never end! But, finally the bags did make it, I grabbed mine, and the Marcus was kind enough to take me home at 2am! I walked thru my door at 2:30am and made it to bed around 3am.
Luckily the trip was worth the delays! I couldn't have had more fun in Marble, CO and I look forward to the next time I am lucky enough to spend time there!! It was a blast!!