Cody Walker muses that within the stillness of Rocky Mountain National Park, "You get a sense that it's the way it should be." His father, Rex, grew up on a steady diet of cowboy films, eventually following his dream to Colorado where he met his wife, Queeda. Queeda was born into a family of homesteaders who caught and broke wild steeds. In 1959, they channeled their passion for the old-west lifestyle into Sombrero Ranches, eschewing souvenir-shop gimmicks for horseback expeditions that, much like avalanches of super glue, bond visitors with their steeds and natural surroundings.
Today, Cody carries on his parents' legacy with a staff of ranch hands from nearby homesteads and college students participating in equine-science programs all across the country. After training in a vigorous program that's evolved during more than 50 years, his employees launch short rides or lengthy adventures. Cody distinguishes the Continental Divide ride as one of the most awe-inspiring; it begins at Bear Lake at 6 a.m., wending across the Continental Divide and to Grand Lake during a nine-hour stretch.
Founded in 1946 by Vincent Burke and now managed by Vincent's five sons, Burke Cleaners scrubs and presses once-smirched duds in locations nationwide. Services include professional cleaning and wrinkle wiping for all manner of everyday getups, special-occasion suits and dresses, and weekends-only spandex wear. Prices for dry-cleaned shirts begin at around $6; pants, sweaters, and blazers start at approximately $7.50. Two-piece suits cost $14.50 and up, and blouses are priced at $6.50 and more. Each store's new dry-cleaning machines are odorless, nontoxic, and environmentally friendly, and same-day service is available for most items, excluding wedding gowns woven entirely of corn husks.
At Doggie Dips and Chips, porcelain, self-service baths; fresh-baked goodies; and playful accessories help bond bipeds with their four-pawed pals. Redwood panels separate tubs of different heights, inviting breeds of varying stature for a safe, nonslip scrub-down, and nontoxic shampoos, oatmeal-based cream rinse, and available aprons outfit owners with everything they need to lead the lathering or direct an impeccably clean, all-dog reenactment of Das Boot ($15 for one pet; $27 for two). Professional dryers save tails from trembling with cold, and the friendly on-site cleanup crews clean each tub between baths to ensure a safe, sanitary shower for each pup.
Kitchen Alley outfits cooks with all the necessary devices for conjuring culinary masterpieces at home. On entering the cozy, charming shop, customers are greeted by a cornucopia of gourmet cookware that spills its contents across tables, onto shelves and the hardwood floor, and up against the exposed-brick walls. Add class to an upcoming tea party with a ceramic teapot from Fox Run ($17.50) or employ a 1.75-inch Norpro mesh tea infuser ($2.48) to permeate herbal libations with your favorite flavors, such as chamomile, lemongrass, or bangers and mash. A Joyce Chen bamboo mixing spoon ($6.25) prevents lazy soups and sauces from resting on their laurels, and a garlic twist ($18) reduces the hassle of mincing garlic with its set of cross-cutting teeth.
Nu-Way and Foothills Cleaners treat soiled closet denizens to a hearty buffet of eco-friendly dry-cleaning, laundry, and alteration services. Experienced garment groomers banish stains from dry-cleaned shirts ($7.29 each) and laundered shirts ($2.99 each), blazers ($7.99 each), dresses ($14.59 each), and slacks ($7.29 each) with EcoSolv, a nontoxic, biodegradable cleaning solution that rehabilitates habiliments without harming fabrics, leaving behind odors, or resorting to name-calling. The cleaners can also make wardrobe alterations or launder bedspreads ($31.99 for queen size) and comforters ($39.99 for queen size). Friendly staff members faithfully record customers‘ starch preferences to ensure custom crispness and always handle clothing with tenderness and care, often courting bashful blouses by winning them stuffed animals at the state fair.
As Rocky Mountain National Park's nonprofit accomplice, the RMNA supports the park with educational excursions such as the seven-hour Hike with a Naturalist: Mills Lake tour. Expand your appreciation for the subalpine ecosystem by hiking through the twisting paths and scenic canyons of the Mills Lake trail, trudging through aspen groves and evergreen trees, and enjoying up-close views of the area's animal and plants. After the forest gets bored of looking at people, climbers will amble past the rushing waters of one of the park's most popular waterfalls and visit numerous glacial moraines, valleys, and cirques.