March 5, 2017 was a beautiful spring like day in northern Colorado. Our souls ached for an adventure and fresh air so we took off. We headed an hour north of Fort Collins to the Red Feather Lakes region as it was an area we had yet to explore. It made a perfect afternoon getaway!
Red Feather Lakes consists of a rustic mountain village that sits beside a lake and is surrounded by the Roosevelt National Forest. The people are few yet friendly and the main road of town is dirt. This Sunday afternoon the sky was bright blue and the air was fresh and crisp with snow still covering sections of the ground.
In early March the lake is still frozen but shallow areas are beginning to thaw. As beautiful as the lake is when frozen it was inviting to my imagination as to how beautiful it must be during summer when the grasses are green, trees are in full bloom and the sun is dancing across the water. I could almost hear the hum of activity along with children’s laughter as they enjoy the clean mountain air, bright sunlight and cool water. The locals tell us that the place is busy and full of life during the summer months and I can easily see why.
The drive up to Red Feather Lakes was beautiful and open with few houses, or homesteads, dotted around the mountainous hills. Once we arrived at the village there really wasn’t a lot of exploring to do by car. As I said before, the main road of the village is a dirt road. It is short and wide with less than 8 local businesses divided on each side.
There was one old gas pump that stood in front of the Trading Post and that was it! No gas station full of digital pumps and no convenience store with snacks and/or souvenirs. I liked it that way! It gave me a feeling of life being simple and relaxed.
A Secret Society of Gnomes
The roads leading to the Red Feather Lakes area are well maintained and easy to drive. They are not crazy curvy like other mountain roads which I’m thankful for! Nevertheless, by the time we were there, I was car sick. Seriously, it is such a pain with how easily I can become nauseous from the motion of a moving vehicle.
The first thing we did once we found the lake was to take the dirt road that cuts a path through the middle of the lake to homes, and forest, on the other side. We were simply exploring. Getting a lay of the land and figuring things out.
After crossing the land bridge, we came to a fork in the road and Jason paused while deciding if he should go right or left. In that moment, I exited the Jeep with little warning. I was so nauseous that I desperately needed my feet on the ground, and to walk it off.
The fresh air, and my feet firmly on the ground, took away my queasiness in no time at all. By the time Jason put the Jeep in park and climbed out to join me I was feeling much better. Such relief!
I wasn’t ready to get back in the Jeep though. I needed to walk some. Before moving forward, I took in my surroundings. To my surprise, I spotted a group of Gnomes standing on a large rock nearby. They were staring at me! With a touch of excitement in my voice I pointed them out to Jason and Raine, who had also climbed out of the Jeep, and we went over to get a better look.
The gnomes appeared to be guarding the forest. What an unexpected delight to find them in such an unexpected place. Oh, but what a fitting place for them to reside! I began to take a really good look at my surroundings, peering closely among the boulders and trees. It was only a matter of seconds before I spotted another gnome.
One was sunbathing on a rock that looked more like an island in the snow. Another could be seen peeking out of the snow at us. In astonishment, we realized that we were surrounded by gnomes, and other woodland creatures, that someone had taken great care in placing. Some were on top of giant boulders looking down at us. Some were in little crevices between, or under, boulders. I even found a dinosaur in a tree! It almost felt like a game of hide and seek and as we explored we discovered more and more.
Someone had put a great deal of thought into the placement of these little guys and it was a great diversion to my car sickness! Honestly, for the first time ever, I was glad that I had become car sick. If I had not felt so sick I wouldn’t have exited the Jeep for fresh air. Being out of the Jeep is the only reason I spotted the little Gnomes hiding along the forest path. We were all 3 glad to have discovered this place. It put a smile on our faces and made us feel as if we had discovered a special little secret in the wooded area by the lake.
Because it is still winter in this area there wasn’t a great deal of exploring to do this day. However, our day was not done! A few miles south, back the way we came, is a 600 acre area called The Shambhala Mountain Center. Stay tuned and read my next blog about this beautiful and peaceful place hidden away in a small valley among the peaks.