Daycations: Guns, grain and golf in Gypsum
Don’t call it the ‘offseason’ when you’re downvalley
Editor’s Note: “Daycations” is a series showcasing what our local towns have to offer in the shoulder season. Stay tuned for more Daycations stories throughout the rest of May.
Now that the lifts have closed and many upvalley events, dining establishments and more are taking a late “spring break,” it’s time to take a look around and see what remains constant in our area. And downvalley in Gypsum, the end of ski season means new opportunities for fun.
There are few things that will wake a person up quicker than the thundering sound of shotgun fire and the lingering scent of burning gunpowder. That’s why in Gypsum, you can skip the caramel latte and head straight to the local gun range to start your daycation off with a bang.
Armed with my .20-gauge Remington and a box of bird shot, I headed down to the Gypsum Shooting Sports Park located north of the Gypsum I-70 exit to tenderize my senses for the day’s activities. The facility is managed by the Eagle Valley Rod and Gun Club and opens to the public at 8 a.m. Non-members must pay a $10 daily use range fee and sign a waiver upon arrival. Most of the facilities here are self-serve. There are rifle and pistol ranges with set targets, loaded clay pigeon throwers and more to test that trigger finger.
As for me, one box of ammo provided enough kicks (or should I say “kickbacks?”) for my morning. Now, I need nourishment. With my ears ringing and arms rattled by recoil, I had worked up an appetite.
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While Gypsum is not necessarily known for its culinary offerings, you can find good food in the right places. And when you’ve spent your morning shooting guns, it simply doesn’t feel right to eat inside. Luckily, the Shell gas station parking lot has the Lety’s Burritos Shack food truck, where I can lean back in the flatbed of my Chevy, blare Johnny Cash and crush some tasty asada fries under the sun.
As I enjoyed my lunch I struck up friendly conversation with a biker who was just dusting off his leathers after an impromptu cruise from California. We talked about his journey here, where he was going next (he didn’t know), and then I explained to him what my work assignment was for the day. “Man, you guys have it good here,” he responded. Coming from a guy who rides his hog thousands of miles with no destination in mind, that counts for something. Also, I couldn’t agree more.
Time for spirits
Feeling refueled with a full stomach, I made my way to my next daycation destination: The 10th Mountain Distillery. Yes that’s right, Vail’s popular distiller has a tasting room down in Gypsum, a clay pigeon’s distance from the Shell parking lot. The large, rustic, barrel-filled tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday, and offers all the same distilled spirits and cocktails as its Vail counterpart.
I’m normally a rye guy, but a daycation calls for something different, so my friendly bartender recommended a glass of their bourbon. “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” goes the famous Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet song. Well, when the 10th Mountain Distillery opens in Gypsum at 1 p.m., it is technically 5 p.m. in Greenland so, as they say, “Kasuutta!”
Hitting the links
Gypsum’s late afternoons are all about golf. And there’s more than one way to go about it. Gypsum Creek’s 18-hole Pete Dye course provides a fun and challenging afternoon, but if lugging a set of clubs isn’t your thing, Gypsum’s Cross Creek Disc Golf course also offers an alternative for healthy outdoor activity while making fun of your buddies. Your humble narrator is a traditionalist in this sense, and prefers the classic game played in broad, open spaces with plenty of room to curse the gods.
And, like most things, golf is always enjoyed better with friends. I will not be posting the scores from our match. Rather, the afternoon highlights are tallied by our laughs, high-fives and fists bumps, which, believe it or not, were more numerous than our strokes.
After the round, the group convenes for dinner on the patio at Creekside Clubhouse and Grill. Here, the dramatic downvalley views are equally as satisfying as the food; there is no better way to cap off this long, glorious, Gyptucky day.
As the sun sets, the boys take their last bites and raise their glasses in a setting that is so pristine and beautiful it feels as though it should be reserved only for date nights. But with the right plan, and the right crew, a daycation like this deserves to be wooed at the end.