a day in Vail…

With another hot summer upon us, the thought of spending a day in the cool mountain air sounded most appealing. When the city of Wheat Ridge offered a one day trip to Vail through the Active Adult Center, it was just the right opportunity at the perfect time. Twenty five of us boarded the two vans at 8:00 a.m. on a Friday morning as we began our journey. After negotiating some rush hour traffic, we made a pit stop in Georgetown to give everyone an opportunity to stretch their legs. We then proceeded to Vail Village and the Betty Ford Alpine Garden, our first stop of the day.

This was my first time to see this very special garden, and let me say that just visiting this alpine garden made the entire trip worthwhile. The garden combines a fabulous display of alpine flora, waterfalls and rock formations. The purpose of the garden is to not only give the visitors to the area the opportunity to see beautiful plants in bloom, but to help educate the public in an effort to protect and preserve these diverse alpine species. Many of these plants are very fragile and must be respected in order to assure their continuing growth and prosperity.

The garden is composed of specialty gardens including a children’s garden, an alpine rock garden, the mountain meditation garden, and the mountain perennial garden. Each of these individual gardens has a unique character about it, and each should be visited individually in order to fully appreciate the splendor of the venue. We were fortunate to have our entire morning available to explore the Alpine Garden and all it has to offer.

After the Alpine Garden, we were on our own to further explore Vail Village and enjoy a mountain lunch. Our group found a little bistro which offered a variety of Italian dishes and Panini style sandwiches. One of my favorites is the Reuben, and the sandwich they served was excellent. Sitting under a patio umbrella watching the many summer tourists wandering through the village only added to the experience. It also makes one realize how fortunate we are to be living in a state like Colorado.

After our casual lunch, we headed to the Rocky Mountain Ski Museum. Here we were able to see the development of skiing and snowboarding through the many years of their development. One aspect of the museum that I found particularly enjoyable was the history of the Winter Olympics and the various locations that hosted the Olympics. Many of you may remember that Colorado was given the opportunity to host the 1976 winter Olympics. We are the only state in the history of the Olympics to decline that very special invitation.

Another aspect of the museum which I found fascinating was learning more about Camp Hale and the development of alpine skiing as it related to military operations during World War II. The museum provides a nice display of this part of Colorado history, and the importance of this phase of the military operation to the war effort. A movie on the subject allows visitors to see just what life was like for the recruits deployed in our Rocky Mountains.
All too soon we were once again boarding the van for our return trip to Denver. Although our group was a little tired, we all felt good from the enjoyment of this very special experience and the memories we will continue to enjoy.

Submitted by Phil Jarzen

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