Friday, June 5, 2009

Rocky Mountains (Part 1)

Heath had this whole week off, using his vacation hours from his old job, before his new job starts next week. Since Heath isn't a "sit at home" type of guy, we decided to take a little road trip with the kids. We decided on visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, almost three hours North/Northwest of us. We researched all about the park and the fun hiking trails they have, and decided on a nice easy trail for us to go on. (Even though I've been feeling much better the past few weeks, we didn't want to push it too much.)

Instead of just driving up there, hiking for a few hours, and driving back, we decided to get there in a round-about way, and explore the area over two days. So Wednesday, around noon, we left Colorado Springs and drove to Boulder. Boulder is a nice College life/Triathlon focused/Liberal type of city. It was a beautiful drive up there (just over an hour and a half) and after we found a hotel for the night, we had planned on walking around the city. However, after dinner, we were all so tired, that we decided just to call it a night.

The kids wouldn't go to sleep right away, though. I think the softness of the beds had something to do with it. At least, it made a difference to me. I hardly slept all night. It might have been the fact that my face felt like it was being suffocated by the soft pillows. It was like my face was the center of a tootsie pop. How many inches of feathers does it take to find the head in the middle of the pillow? One...two...three?

The next morning, we enjoyed a nice breakfast at the hotel before we continued our drive into the mountains. Except for a little spell of motion sickness, it was a beautiful drive, as we steadily climbed upward through the mountains. Soon, we knew there was something we were forgetting. Oh yeah...It was our anniversary! So we celebrated with a quick kiss, and each of the kids congratulated us.

We drove through a beautiful city called Estes Park, at the base of the Rocky Mountain National Park. It was so picturesque. Each of us agreed that it would be a beautiful place to live. Kamy suggested that if we moved here, Heath could work at the pizza parlor behind the gas station. After we vetoed that suggestion, she offered up another solution. "You could work at the gas station and wash cars!"

About 30 seconds after we left the gas station, with our car refueled and our bladders emptied, Georgie yells out "I have to go potties, momma!" Oh, the joy of tiny bladders.

So then we entered the park and began the journey to the clouds. We took a road called "Trail Ridge Road", which is 48 miles in length, only open from June through October, because of the 20+ feet of snow that buries the roadway. It is the highest continuously paved road in the United States, boasting an elevation of 12,183 feet above sea level at it's highest point. The road gets well above treeline, and weaves back and forth around the mountains.

Luckily for us, there are little areas that you can pull over and enjoy the view. There are also scattered restrooms built for our convenience. This was the highest restroom I've ever had the pleasure of using, at 12, 090 feet high. It was certainly cold to sit on, I'll tell ya that!

Here are some views from the top of the mountains. We couldn't believe how high up we were.

A little bit lower, we were able to stop and walk around to see the view of the valleys below us. The pictures just can't portray the vastness of the wilderness around us. It was beautiful.

Kolby really wanted to climb on that barrier fence, and got put into place when Heath chastised him and said "Better to have you whining, than going to the edge and dying." Words to live by.

After we finished driving on the Trail Ridge Road, (and we came back down to a normal elevation) we ended up at the start of the East Trail head, which began our hike. Stay tuned for the next post.


I'm Always Rite said...

Looks like fun! I must say I ma a bit jealous. I love the mountains. Glad to see you guys making the most of it! :)

Colleen said...

Beautiful pictures! I am glad you could take advantage of the time between jobs. We are hoping to do some exploring of Rocky Mtn. Nat'l Park ourselves this summer and this makes it all the more exciting!

Trinette McCrary said...

What a great little get away with the family. We love Estes Park. I haven't been there for a few years. This makes me want to go sometime soon. Great pictures.

Heath said...

The one drawback that I had was seeing all of the Bark Pine Beetle detestation in the forests. There was so many dead trees that in some places there was more brown than green on the sides of the mountains. And its a native bug. The flyer that we were given mentioned that they do spray in more populated areas like campgrounds ect. But the back country is just ravaged. I am thankful that our forests don't look like that, and hope that they never will.