I wasn’t necessarily planning to write about this past weekend, however, there seems to be a good amount of interest in the Poudre River Trail. So, I will enlighten HeidiTown citizens, while espousing my love of patios.
I will sit on a patio in the fall until my fingers freeze and I am the first to sit on the patio when it opens in the spring, even if it is still chilly. My patio obsession is a bit of a joke with my husband who likes to ask me, during a snowstorm, “Shall we dine al fresco today?”
This patio infatuation also comes with a pretty serious flip-flop addiction. Honestly, patios and flip-flops go together. The key to all of this is sunshine and thankfully, Colorado has a lot of the stuff.
RELATED: Short Colorado Hike, Big Rewards
This winter has seemed especially long and snowy this year, and as I type this, I am watching snow fall. It is April 4. But this weekend, we had glimpses of what we have to look forward to which is sun-drenched patios. We decided to go on a long walk before dining al fresco. After all, it was a 60 degree day.
Wanting to walk somewhere besides our normal weekend walk around the lakes in our neighborhood, we headed to one of the many trailheads along the Poudre River Trail. We chose the one at Poudre Valley Learning Center in Greeley.
This paved trail is 21-miles long and links Greeley to Windsor. The long term goal is to connect to Fort Collins which will represent 40 miles of trail. Today, Island Grove in Greeley is on the east end and River Bluffs Open Space in Windsor (about 1.5 miles east of Interstate 25) is on the west side.
Our walk took us down County Road 62, a dirt road. Eventually, we were surrounded by fields and cows. We took a right, turning left at a fracking site and then found ourselves among the trees and within sight of the Poudre River.
Two osprey flew overhead and a duck decoy bobbed up and down in the river. Obviously, there are hunters around during specific times of the year. We had taken our dog, Fritzi. She is a lucky dog and gets a lot of walks. They are the best part of her day. Incredibly happy to be along, she trotted on her leash, admiring the scenery which included a group of yearling cows that found her fascinating.
We had stopped to watch them because they’d run towards the fence as soon as they saw us. Then, as we continued to walk, they’d follow, always keeping a distance, but staring at Fritzi with open interest. At first, Fritzi watched the cows curiously, but then got bored. They never seemed to get bored of her.
There are a lot of bikes on this trail, and in fact, we passed a bike workstation complete with integrated bike pump. I am not sure how many of these exist along the route, but we could see why biking the path is so popular.
The paved path is fairly flat and dog and bike friendly—what more could you want? I can’t wait to go back when the trees have leaves. It was pretty in April, but it will be glorious near the end of June.
The website PoudreRiverTrail.org has a lot of information, including maps.
After our hour and a half trail walk, we were hungry for lunch, stopping on a whim at Shopey’s Pizza. I got a lunch special that was less than $10 and consisted of a giant slice of pizza, a huge salad and a bottle or water. Ryan got the two piece of pizza and a drink lunch special. The food was tasty, especially the fresh salad, but the best part is that the sunny patio is dog friendly. As we munched on pizza with Fritzi laying at our feet, it felt like summer. Almost.
That evening, I was determined to sit on another patio, so we headed to Raff’s Tavern at Highland Meadows Golf Course. In the minute it took to walk from the parking lot down to the restaurant, our beautiful spring day turned into a hurricane.
We sat, ordered a beer and watched a table of six scurry inside, plates and glasses in hand. They were tired of trying to prevent items on their table from flying away.
Determined to tough it out, we clutched our beers while watching tumbleweeds bounce across the golf course and waves beginning to develop on the golf course pond. After just one drink, we called it. We’ll be back on this patio because we discovered that Raff’s Tavern serves breakfast. With a view of rolling greens and a pond, it is an excellent patio.
So, there you have it. Saturday was good patio, pooch and Poudre River Trail day. And I think the cows had a good time too.