So I was really excited to go to Colorado with our girls, who have never seen mountains before, and share in the wonder.
We were not disappointed.
The mountains were ever-present, as a landscape off to our west, no matter where we drove. And then the day after the wedding we drove to Estes Park, and were amazed by the drive itself.
|On the drive to Estes Park|
How is this now awe-inspiring? Look at how tiny we humans are in comparison. And we think we're in charge. Ha!
We stopped in Estes Park and had lunch. We happened to stop at the ONLY Packer bar this side of the Colorado River.
|Are you kidding me?|
We then drove further up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Wayne and I are both nervous mountain drivers, as we've experienced in previous travels to Napa Valley and Colorado Springs. We both feel like we're going to fall off the edge of the road and down the side of the mountain. I found myself leaning to the left away from the edge, even though there was no point to that. Later on we encountered more recently repaved roads which had been widened to create a very small shoulder. It's amazing the difference 1.5 feet makes in feeling more secure on the road.
We drove as far as Sprague Lake and walked around the lake, about a 1.5 mile walk, the perfect length for the kids. The sky had become overcast and it started spitting rain a little bit, but we didn't care.
We kept watching the big peaks across the lake from us, observing how they changed as we went along. We discovered that the snow we were seeing on the one large peak was actually Tyndall glacier, and at one of the stops there were photos of the glacier from the 1910s. It was sad to see how small the glacier was today in comparison. (Granted it is summer, but I bet it was the smallest summertime glacier ever.)
|Looking at Tyndall Glacier from Sprague Lake. Can you see it?|
Look now, it won't last forever, sadly.
On the second day when Lindsey and I arrived a ranch hand came up to her, gave her a hug and said, "I recognize this little girl! She's the one with the big smile." She clearly made an impression on her first day by her love of horses.
Our guide, Slim, was well-suited to the job of trail guide. He was so comfortable with the horses, easy to talk...and hilarious. At one point we came over a ridge and he called back, "Now there are two ways you can go here, the left or the right. I recommend you stay to the right." Once we came over the ridge we could see that the way "left" was actually straight down the ravine while the right was the only way you could go without hurting yourself. What a joker.
|Photo by Slim, expert trail guide and bullshitter.|
The horses were masterful at picking their way among a more advanced trail than the trail taken the day before (according to Slim). The trails looked no wider than ones humans would walk, yet these large animals took them with finesse. I simply sat back and let the horse pick the way as we descended the mountainside. We came back up through another trail and rose higher than the trail taken by Lindsey the day before (the guide pointed down to the trail they had previously taken).
The sky was immense. An intense blue in every direction, dotted with puffy cotton ball clouds. A realization of being of no consequence to the universe came upon me; our lives are little in the history of the earth. Not to say that what we do doesn't matter, but why not enjoy as much of it as we can?
I asked Slim, "Do you ever get accustomed to how beautiful this country is?" His answer: "Never."
|I rode Trail Baron, Lindsey rode Valley Girl.|
We had to take a picture with "Slim," whose real name is David. Super nice guy.
Go if you haven't been. And go again if you have. I know for sure we will be back.