Nederland, CO was a surprise on an afternoon of exploring this fall. Moose and a mining museum were more than we expected when we left for a hike! Ned (as the locals affectionately call it) is a little mountain town nestled on a beautiful lake in southwestern Boulder County, just 17 miles up the canyon from the city of Boulder. It was known for mining silver and tungsten but now is known as the base of Eldora Mountain Resort, a favorite of us locals. Nestled on the Peak to Peak Highway, the drive is half the fun!
We took a hike at Mud Lake, which is an interesting name considering how beautiful it is. A nice, easy hike if you have people visiting from lower elevations or children with you. (We had both.) Considering it was late September the fall colors were pretty spectacular! As usual, a crystal blue day in the Rockies.
Our biggest treat was on our way home. While we were driving, I pointed out to our guest that the area beside the road is very similar to the places I always see moose. Boom – traffic jam! A mama moose and her twin yearlings having their afternoon snack!
Two park rangers were there because of all the commotion and traffic back-up on the Peak to Peak Highway. From them we learned that moose have very few natural predators, so they don’t feel threatened by humans. That’s why there were tolerating dozens of spectators gawking at them. She also told us twins are an indication that the herd is healthy and growing, a wonderful sign that they’ve only seen in the past few years. Another thing she taught us was that dogs are seen a huge threat because the moose consider them wolves. If you’re ever hiking with your dog, walk a HUGE circle around moose or they will charge you because of your dog. (Glad our pup was still in the car post-hike.)
Sorry for the over-abundance of moose photos, but I’m always in awe of these majestic creatures!
On our way back through town we had to stop when my kids saw a huge backhoe. The sign said it helped dig the Panama Canal. How it ended up in the mountains of Colorado, I never figured out! But, my boys loved it!
Although we’d just stopped for a photo, we realized we were next to a mining museum ran by Boulder County Parks. It was fascinating! There were three fantastic volunteers there who took their time with my kids explaining everything they were seeing, how mining worked in early Colorado history and were fascinating!
Make sure you stop in town at the Carousel of Happiness. It is a revived antique carousel with 56 hand-carved animals. Anyone can ride for $1! It is a beautiful story of a local resident who wanted to spread joy after returning home from the Vietnam War. He’s the guy who carved all the animals, but never did it until he purchased a carousel that had been stripped of all the horses. He’s truly an artist! Kids of all ages will love it!
It was a spectacular day! And exactly what life is about…creating memories!