Wow! Summer, she’s a-flyin. At first, time seemed to be slowed down. But as per usual, 4th of July rolls around and it hits hyper speed on the downhill to kids birthdays and back to school.
This year, our downhill turn to hyperspeed took a detour. A family reunion/50th anniversary celebration in Estes Park, Colorado. All I can tell you is if you have never been to Colorado, you are missing out. Big time. At least the mountainous parts. Eastern Colorado is pretty flat, mostly because it runs straight into Kansas, which is where the idea for pancakes came from. But the mountains, that is amazing.
We left our steaming home town heading north and west for a 10 hour drive to the city of Castle Rock, just south of Denver to spend the night with college friends. They were worried about how ‘hot’ it was there. After I stopped laughing, I reminded them of where we came from, and no, it most definitely is not even close to ‘hot’. Warm for them, but not hot.
If you’ve been hanging out with me for any length of time, you will remember our vacation disasters. Every. Single. Time. We either get trauma, drama or a puking kid. Without fail. It has gotten to the point that I really, truly question my sanity when we plan a trip. This, however, was not just a vacation, it was a special occasion, so I didn’t have the luxury of questioning anything. We’d initially planned to take my car, a Subaru Outback, with a car top carrier to put our luggage in. The problem, was that my car didn’t have the proper rails to secure the carrier to. No big deal, except we didn’t discover this until about 7:30 the night before we were leaving. I was pretty sure this was signaling the beginning of another trauma/drama filled trip.
Load up, hit the road Saturday. It was a great day for a drive and we made good time. The last 40 miles before our friends house was through a very remote area and incredibly beautiful, rolling hills and farms. My kids wanted to camp there and I just thought about how many stars we’d be able to see at night. A lovely dinner on the deck looking at the foothills and a beautiful sunset ended our first day.
Ok, I”m thinking. So far so good. But I’m not dumb enough to say anything out loud and jinx it. Neighbors that night decide to use their fire pit and have a party. Til after midnight. With open windows. Close windows=much better. An hour later, my girly is in our room ‘Mom. I think I’m going to be sick.” Here we go, I thought. She’d just gotten over heated in a stuffy room. She was fine, thankfully.
Arrive at Estes Park Sunday afternoon and the home away from home in time to greet family and nose around the houses. Mom and sister in law and I make a list and hit the grocery store. You know, I never really thought of a grocery store trip as an adventure or anything requiring protective gear. But this is Estes Park. They apparently only have one in the entire town. The town that swells to 3 to 4 times it’s population in the summer. It felt like I was at WalMart on Black Friday. Or the local grocery following a blizzard warning. Between trying to maneuver the cart and the empty shelves, it was chaos. I don’t envy the people who have to recover and restock the store overnight. The cashiers really should get hazard pay. Here’s a tip, if you’re a grocery store owner, put one in Estes Park, you’ll make a killing!
Here’s the first half of our trip:
Sunday: A short trip from Denver to Estes Park. Which was nice, since the drive on Saturday was about 10 hours. See above adventure in local Safeway.
Monday: Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove up to the Alpine Visitors Center. On the way, we saw wildlife, got rained on, hailed on and snowed on! In the photo below, you can see the rain moving through. Those clouds dropped a single bolt of lightning and the PING of a lone hailstone that sent us all scrambling for our cars. A few minutes later and further up the mountain, a hailstorm at 11K feet was incredible and frightening all at once!
Tuesday: Rafting the Cache La Poudre river. It was very fun and yes, the water was ridiculously COLD! The bus ride up and back was an adventure in itself!
Wednesday: We attempted shopping downtown. With 19 ppl, it’s more like herding cats! In the evening we had surprise anniversary party for Mom and Dad in law, it was their 50th we were celebrating. I don’t have any pics of the gang shopping, so I’ll share a few of the flowers and scenery.
Stay tuned for Part 2! More to come!