The spouse, Stiles, spent a few of his formative years (middle school) in Estes Park, Colorado, a gallop away from Rocky Mountain National Park. Since the early days of our now-decade-long relationship, I’ve heard him wax rhapsodic about his time in the Rockies — riding horses, shooting guns, drawing pictures of guns and that one time he watched his stepdad threaten his next door neighbor after the neighbor stole their dog. You don’t steal a man’s dog.
Jimmy and Skyler are two of the most fun people we know. We are indescribably lucky to count them among our closest Texas friends for so many reasons, not least of which are Jimmy’s mad skills in the kitchen. Jimmy is a natural who was trained in the kitchens of Spain and South Carolina. He and I have a special chi because we both believe in living a Dionysian lifestyle and I love to eat his food. (See: New Year 2011 Mussel Throwdown)
So two weeks ago, when Jimmy proposed we join his brood and three other families in the Rockies for a vacation, we moved everything around quickly to make it happen. We eight grown-ups and eight children stayed in a gorgeous, 7,000 square foot, nine-bedroom house perched high up on a knoll in Fraser, Colorado. We spent our days and nights eating Jimmy’s freshly-grilled fish and lamb and steak and other culinary creations, drinking outside underneath shooting stars and playing with the wee ones during the day. The other families included The Haley’s, who we knew well from Austin, and The Hall’s, headed up by Jimmy’s college roommate, Clay. In keeping with the fun times, Clay is a muckity muck at Francis Ford Coppola Wines. He got two cases of wine shipped to the house before our group’s arrival.
We saw moose, elk, beavers and every afternoon a fox would come visit us in the backyard. Eva enjoyed herself so much and loved playing with the older kids, ranging from age 3 to 7. I enjoyed the food and company so much. Stiles got to take us to the continental divide up in Rocky Mountain National Park, which made him so happy.