The Stanley


  1. the process of being stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
  2. the drawing in of breath


Was it the smell of the lobby, or the touch of the old linens? Did it take sleeping in a specifically numbered room or did inspiration start to come immediately?IMG_0865

What was it about the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park CO that inspired Stephen King to write the book “the Shining”? Was it something that I might be able to feel or sense too?

The movie “the Shining” was the work of another famous and brilliant S.K…Stanley Kubrick. But his vision, his inspiration, was to take the original tale entirely away from Stephen King and run hard and fast in a completely different direction, forever locking and blurring the two concepts in the minds of “the Shining” audience into one.IMG_0524 The documentary “Room 237” breaks down Kubrick’s version leaving you with even more possibilities and questions.

Visiting the Stanley has sat firmly on the top level of my bucket list now for years.

The reservations for my night tour of the Stanley had been made for me as a surprise and told to me less than a week before my arrival. My entire trip to Colorado seemed to magically happen, a series of random events landing me there. I had very little to do with planning any of the trip, a fact that seemed to be completely working in my favor.

Would this majestic old hotel be willing to offer up even the tiniest bit of pure inspiration to me? Is it safe or even wise to seek that type of creativity? Or would I be so overwhelmed with ideas that it takes me screaming down an entirely new path all together?

Millions of visitors come seeking something from the Stanley’s history laden walls at all hours of the day and night. Would the Stanley have any energy left for me?

Our tour was at 6 pm.

Our guide was Dee Dee.

From the minute she started her introductions, respect towards both the hotel and the guests was obvious and a personality trait I found highly endearing. DeeDee’s energy and spirit picks up on the smallest of changes in her environment. Her consideration for everyone and their inner most feelings and beliefs from the start allowed all of us to relax, and let our guards down to have fun. DeeDee seemed to truly be a welcomed friend of the Stanley. I believe her when she says she has had personal experiences through the course of giving so many tours.

As DeeDee led us through the main floor ballrooms she explained how we could play simple games designed to welcome any energy of the hotel that wanted to or could follow along. We learned about the people who built the hotel and their lives all the while opening the very real possibility that one of the many past residents associated with the history of the building could be listening in on the tour.IMG_0846

A few of us were given lollipops to hold out as an offer to any younger or playful energy that wanted to hang around with us. I held my hand as flat as I could. Trying to control my excited breathing, desperately sending energy out to pick me!!! Inside, my soul was frantically waving my hands in the air! “OVER HERE!!!” Jumping up and down screaming “Come play with ME!!”

Desperation is not attractive…to the living or otherwise…I was avoided like the plague.

Towards the far right of our group stood a young girl of maybe twelve (?) was holding her hand out perfectly still. I watched with my own eyes her as her dum dum lolipop jerk backwards, then upright, then to the side. She was not the focus of our group’s attention and only a few of us were even looking in her direction at the time. The look on her face told me she had no idea how that happened and it wasn’t her doing it.

The Stanley, you now have my complete attention.

My bf Laura had developed a decent headache when we arrived at the hotel and I was worried it could get worse. Often places with high energy, altitude or certain mineral deposits can trigger headaches. But Laura is that pure loving type of soul that surprises someone she loves with reservations to a destination on their bucket list…she was not going to let a throbbing headache ruin this trip.

Good souls seem to attract more good.

One of the games to encourage younger, fun-loving energies to be around us involved pencils. I saw a real, not faked, reaction on Laura’s face as her pencils moved without any help and had to be forcibly pushed back together. Call them parlor tricks. Who cares. Did you feel something or giggle because it made no sense? Yes.

And with that Laura’s headache was gone.

I came to the Stanley in hopes of being inspired, not to debunk and find fault in a guided tour. I came open and enjoyed every minute of it.

When the tour ended I hugged DeeDee with my sincere thanks. She had done a fantastic job.

The Stanley, Estes Park CO.


Take a deep breath and hold…






too high?

I’m lying in bed propped up under too many pillows. I am coughing up my lungs, alternating hot cold flashes, parts of my hips, shoulders and back throb with enough pain I’m considering having all of those parts removed.

I’ve been home from Colorado for less than 24 hours. While there I eagerly wandered/hiked my way up to 7000 or so feet above sea level to take in the views. Mother Nature however made sure to make it very clear to me that if I had any intentions of continuing my trek up any higher without the proper time to acclimate she was going to make my lungs explode.

Now don’t start picturing me out there all alone. I was driven out to this beautiful area and guided through this new experience by two extremely capable 20 year CO residents. Lifelong friends I adopted as family in jr.high, their abilities far exceed mine in that terrain or otherwise. I was in good hands.IMG_0793.JPG

I have also made sure to not shut up for most of the hike because

A. I am truly excited to be there with Laura

B. I talk a lot normally and…

C. I am losing oxygen and don’t know it yet.

One of my all-time favorite books is “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer about the 1996 Mt. Everest disaster where 8 climbers were killed. It is written so fantastically well that you take the amazing journey with him to the top of the world then watch in horror as Mother Nature reminds us all her power we cannot equal and that we are tiny specks in comparison easily blown off the side of a Mt.

Born in Las Vegas and raised in the deserts of Southern California, I am fascinated reading about the effects of altitude and the incredible elite athletes who can now summit Mt Everest without supplemental oxygen. You truly have no idea how your body will react to altitude change or at what point. It can make you very sick and can be deadly. This is not something to ignore or pretend it doesn’t exist or is fake news. Our bodies need oxygen.

I know I will never summit Mt. Everest or any of the world’s highest peaks, but I would love to get to explore beautiful parts of the country above sea level and want to spend more time closer to the Rocky Mountains. They are spectacular to behold. Much like the Superstition Mountains, the Rockies command your attention and send off an energy that can be life changing. Add in the flowers and wildlife and it’s almost too much for this lizard’s heart and lungs to take. Todays hike was local to Loveland CO. Arthurs Rock.IMG_0806.JPG

We began the hike at a slow pace allowing me to take in the scenery. The first noticeable reaction to the altitude change was a yawn. I’m awake and my body feels good as we hike on through a meadow but I’m yawning as I’m happily goofing off trying to twirl and sing the Sound of Music. We stop to let me get my bearings and some water. It’s not much longer before my head is in a fish bowl and my ears are plugged and popping.IMG_0778.JPG

I did not feel dizzy until we reached the top. The view is awesome and I was proud to have done it but I was also now starting to get my first taste of what an extreme altitude change can do physically and knew that an hour plus hiking up means at least an hour of hiking back down, unless you take a good toe kick to a rock and gravity takes you down faster and I was not hoping for that type of assistance.

Round trip our hike was roughly 5 miles in about 3 hours. On paper, just an average hike.IMG_0802

I had spent the past 4 days at least at a mile-high elevation flying into Denver and made one trip up to around 7000 elevation driving to Estes Park. But quite obviously that was not enough time for my dusty dried desert lungs to handle slight humidity and what felt like half the normal amount of oxygen I require to not flop over.

Within a few hours of returning from our hike and showering my right eye puffed up as if I had an allergic reaction and it is still possible that’s all that was. I have a couple of small sores in my mouth and now I’m coughing consistently and can’t drink enough water to stop the dehydration. I’m slightly achey all over.

My body 48 year old body was drained already from the normal travel stress I go through. But then I go and carry a far too heavy of an overstuffed back pack because I don’t want to check anything in. One shoulder strap breaks forcing me to tie it and lug this beast as awkwardly as possible through two major airports destroying my back and right shoulder in the process.

So here I am in bed reliving magic memories of a trip that went by too fast. I had briefly escaped the Arizona heat and rattlesnakes only to meet another one of natures beasts… altitude sickness.IMG_0788.JPG

Believe it or not with as miserable as I feel right now, I am excited to go again. I now have the reality of what it will take for my body to do this safely. I am thankful I was with people who didn’t push me, keeping me safe the entire time and carrying extra water for me. I am grateful to be more aware than ever to remind my Superstition Mt. Museum guests traveling from all over the world to be careful out in our desert. Dehydration is as deadly as altitude sickness.

Listen to your body. Know your limitations. When traveling, respect locals who have the experience that can save your life and scoot your ego aside because maybe…just maybe… you don’t know everything even though you think you do to get back home safely.IMG_0810.JPG