I’m a water-worshiper living in a landlocked state. As a native of the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” (really 11,842 lakes, but that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue) and a former 10-year resident of beach-side SoCal, I’ll cop to suffering from occasional bouts of water withdrawal.
Fortunately, Colorado does have SOME lakes and rivers. Grand Lake is one of the biggest spots of blue you’ll spot on a map of our fair state, and I’ve been wanting to see it for quite a while. Last weekend, I finally had the opportunity.
Oren, John, and I hiked about four miles partway around the Grand Lake-adjacent Shadow Mountain Reservoir. It was peaceful and beautiful and exactly the dose I needed. We also explored the largely “closed for the season” main street of the town. With old-fashioned ice cream and candy shops, a lovingly curated book store, a handful of stuck-in-time restaurants, a barebones mini golf course that sees zero need for bells and whistles, a couple of coffee shops, and a generous allotment of tourist-focused knick-knack shops, it could be 1950, 1980, or 2018. This was verified by John, who used to come here in the 1980s for family vacations.
I bought some moose socks from one of the shops. Every once in a while I need to re-up my supply of moose socks. Grand Lake understands this about me.
Some main streets seem mercifully exempt from having undergone the change-for-change’s-sake “innovations” that can spoil what’s genuinely unique about a place. On first glance, Grand Lake seems to be that kind of town. There’s no Starbuck’s, no fast food, and nothing at all fancy, and not a single person seems to miss any of it. And isn’t that kind of nice?
The most exciting thing we saw during our visit was a big crane hoisting disassembled pieces of dock out of the water over in the marina. It was rather pleasant to have a midday crane operation be the most pressing news item I encountered all day.