It was about 100 miles from Chatfield State Park to the Riverside RV Park in Loveland. We went straight up I-25 though Denver. We had a nice site by the Big Thompson River, which flows from RMNP and were set up in no time. This time we were in the deep shade of some trees so we put up our other flagpoles with its set of flags and then relaxed for awhile.
Chris took a tour of the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins. It was started in the early 1990s buy a guy interested in home brewing. It has grown into a major brewery with an interesting philosophy.
Alternatively Empowered means making business decisions based on minimizing environmental impact, encouraging the growth of the employee owners, and being a socially responsible contributor to the community. It’s rewarding, challenging, and educational. It’s what makes us New Belgium.
We believe, to be environmental stewards, we need to:
- Lovingly care for the planet that sustains us.
- Honor natural resources by closing the loops between waste and input.
- Minimize the environmental impact of shipping our beer.
- Reduce our dependence on coal-fired electricity.
- Protect our precious Rocky Mountain water resources.
- Focus our efforts on conservation and efficiency.
- Support innovative technology.
- Model joyful environmentalism through our commitment to relationships, continuous improvement, and the camaraderie and cheer of beer
Everything was clean and very modern.
Behind these barrels was a climbing wall for the employees. Each employee gets a their own bike after working for a year. There are lots of little touches for the employees. Note the pool table in front of the bottling line.
One morning we went for a hike along the Devil’s Backbone Open Space. Larimer County has an Open Lands Program funded by a 1/4 percent sales tax. The tax was started in 1996 following a citizens’ initiative to acquire and manage open spaces. The program works with landowners willing to preserve and protect properties through simple fees and conservation easements. The Devil’s Backbone is an interesting geologic formation extending north and south. There are a series of hiking trails going all the way up to Horse Tooth Reservoir west of Fort Collins. We hiked up a couple of miles and then back on a parallel trail that wound through the lower valley.
On either side of the Devil’s Backbone were subdivisions in the valleys. To the east they were huge houses all facing the west with giant windows. We think they would cook in the summer, but they surely had cool views of the mountains. We could see Long’s Peak through the Keyhole.
After our hike, we toured the town of Loveland. It clearly had enjoyed better times and all in all there wasn’t much there. They did, however, have very state of the art firefighting engines.
We spent an afternoon in Fort Collins, a college town. They have a downtown area, Old Town, that has been restored, unlike Loveland. There are lots of restored buildings with shops, boutiques, cafes and alfresco eateries. There are brick-paved pedestrian ways with an abundance of flowers. They have had a lot of heat of their own recently, so we suspected that the landscape has been given a lot of attention. It was very impressive and definitely a coup for the town.
There were various musical groups playing in several locations. In one of the pedestrian areas there were some fountains with kids playing in them. Streams of water would erupt spontaneously from the pavement, sometimes going straight up and sometimes shooting over to these black objects. The kids were trying to anticipate where the water would shoot from and spray to and were having a blast, laughing and giggling all the time. Definitely an entertaining sight to passersby. Nevertheless, we’re sure it looks different in the winter.
Our last afternoon in the campground Chris tried his hand at fishing the Big Thompson River behind our camper. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much luck. As soon as he started fishing some kids decided to go swimming right next to him, swim goggles and all. He didn’t catch anything, but the kids sure had a good time.
We’re heading up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow. We’re really looking forward to the elevation’s cooler temperatures. We also plan on meeting our friends, Bill and Jamie, who are on their way back to Terre Haute after a 3-week trip into the Canadian Rockies. They should have some good stories to tell around the campfire.
Leaving the Front Range behind,
Chris and Melinda