This post could also be alternately titled:
That time we lived in a van for a week
or better yet
The trip Wes learned to crawl and I forgot to do my hair for a week
Our formal introduction to sriracha
Ahh, Colorado. This was such a good trip. I really, really loved the time we spent out there. Wes was about nine months old (can you tell from recent posts which hard drive I've been scouring? haha) and this was the first vacation and plane ride we ever took him on. It was the first week of June in 2009. Spring had just barely arrived to Colorado when we touched down in Colorado Springs to begin our week long adventure. Though Josh had been before, this was mine and Abby's first time really out WEST. Like, real west, past Minnesota, west.
We rented a van in the springs and began what was basically a week long road trip through Colorado. We were headed north to Fort Collins to visit with Josh's uncle Pat and aunt Kim but we made our way through Manitou Springs, Denver, Estes and Rocky Mountain National parks and Boulder too while we were there that week. We put three thousand miles on our van and saw every corner of Colorado we could get to while we were there.
We took pictures upon pictures upon pictures on that trip, and can you blame us? Everywhere you turn is the most frameworthy, picturesque scene you can imagine. But, since it's asking enough to have you bear with me while I relive all these old memories, the least I can do is condense and keep them to one post each. (Wait 'til I get to the trip Josh and I took to the everglades. He took so many identical photos of the same (different? who can tell?) alligator(s?) it's madness.)
Wes was an angel baby the whole trip through. He napped, ate meals and watched the Colorado landscape pass him by all from his car seat. He had his diapers changed in the back of the van and we stretched our legs on the sides of twisty mountain roads without so much as a complaint from the little guy. He did, however, leave a sea of gerber graduate puffs on the floor of that poor van. And I am certain that wherever that van is today it still has puffs ground in to the interior somewhere.
Josh's aunt and uncle were perfect hosts and tour guides while we visited. Not to mention Josh's sister, Lisa who was living there at the time and their cousin, Dori, who gave us a tour of the Armstrong Hotel in old town Fort Collins where she worked. (It's such a cool little hotel. I swooned my way all up and down those hallways, man.) Wes even learned to crawl in Pat and Kimmy's family room one night. And would you know, those wonderful people baby sat for us one day so Josh, Abby and I could go white water rafting? One night they took us out for mexican and introduced us to our very first bottle of a certain red rooster sauce which is now a staple in this household. So, in other words, we are indebted to them for life.
These are pictures of the Pouder river where we went white water rafting...in snowmelt...directly following a freak hail storm (see Pat below). It was positively frigid and we were so afraid it was going to be a miserable experience. We went anyway. True, we could not feel our fingers and hands for a good while afterwards, but even so it was F-U-N.
And here were have those grand and handsome rockies. With their never summer mountain tops and the vast, serene expanse of park below. We saw everything we could possibly see. We drove from one end to the other, up to the top and back down again. If you've ever been to the rockies you know just how easily one can get lost (both literally and figuratively) in that magical place. And if you haven't been I will just let the pictures do the talking.
We saw herds of elk and big horned sheep and after searching and searching and hoping and praying we finally saw not just one moose, but a whole little family of moose! (meese?) At first we saw just the mama and her baby. But then after a few minutes of slack-jawed staring big daddy came sauntering through and I had to try and muffle my squeal of excitement as to not scare them away. It was hard. And also, how cute is baby Wes sitting in that field of dandelions?
Next are a few shots of Boulder. We didn't take many, and for some unfathomable reason we took not one picture at all while we were in Denver?! I don't know what was wrong with me in those days? It must have been the altitude throwing me off my game because 2013 Emily would have at least 200 pictures of each city. Minimum.
So what I've got to offer here is one poor quality picture from Pearl street when we were downtown shopping and then the view of Boulder from her mountains. She even sent us off with a rainbow to remember her by on our way out of town. Such a great little city, she is.
And now we're back. Back to Colorado Springs from whence we came. We rode the cog up to Pike's Peak and had our obligatory pictures taken at the summit. Please excuse Abby's mama duggar bangs. It's windy up there on those mountaintops! And no, as much as I looked and looked I never did see a mountain lion up there anywhere. There were none to be found. And yes, I am still devastated about it to this day.
Where to next? Well, Manitou Springs of course! We had to get in some historical sight seeing and the 13th century manitou cliff dwellings of the ancient Anasazi indian people were not to be missed! Plus Wes got to sit in a teepee and was completely enraptured by the traditional folk dances volunteers from the modern day tribe were performing the day we were there. Can't blame him though, it was pretty spectacular.
oh, baby wes, why were you so cute?
oh, 2009 Emily, why didn't you own a comb?
And finally, last but most certainly not least, I leave you with the garden of the gods. A place every bit a heavenly as it sounds. Maybe even more so. It's no wonder America the Beautiful was inspired by its author after a visit to Colorado Springs. This country of ours is something else.