Monday, August 19, 2013

Colorado Vacation Part 4

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Rocky Mountain National Park will always have a piece of my heart.  We had no clue what we were doing in the park, so after leaving The Stanley we headed to the first Welcome Center stationed between Estes Park and RMNP.  The guide there was incredibly knowledgeable and super friendly, and set us up with a map with some of his favorite spots circled.

Driving into RMNP.

We only had a few hours, as we were planning to head to Fort Collins to tour a few breweries, so we decided not to venture too far into RMNP.  I had heard from a visitor at my work that the Alluvian Fan was not to be missed, and it looked relatively close by.  We parked, hiked up a short trail and came out onto this huge expanse of boulders and waterfalls that tumbled down from the mountain when a high-up lake's dam burst years ago.

Pictures don't do it any justice at all.  The boulders and waterfalls went up and up, and mountains were all around us.

We climbed up a little bit and I made Ryan take his shoes off and get in the water.  It was SO COLD!

We climbed and climbed and the views just got better.  

Ryan took that picture to prove I was actively participating and enjoying an outdoor activity, haha.

This is my happy place.

We were swearing up and down that we just HAD to take our kids to this place one day.  There were little ones splashing in the water, and sweet, earnest 5 year olds tackling the boulders.  

This was an afternoon of bliss, of complete happiness and elation.  There's no way to NOT make this sound like a cheesy mess, so I'm not going to try.  Something profound happened to me here, in this spot at the Alluvian Fan.  Those mountains got into my soul.  Everything fell away and seemed so small next to that landscape.  There's so much more of this park that we have to see.

My only regret about our vacation is that we didn't spend nearly enough time in RMNP.  Who knew that while we were going to Colorado for the beer and the active lifestyle, that instead the outdoors would grab us and not let go.

Ryan travels and travels for work, and we're a frugal couple, so this vacation was a big one for us.  Thanks to RMNP, we're already planning next year's trip; we're hoping to rent a cabin with Ryan's cousin and his wife.  And spend WAY more time in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Turns out, I am outdoorsy, it just took Colorado to show me that.  I can't wait to go back.

Other trip highlights were Pearl Street (I hit up a used bookstore there almost every day, and we bought fabric at a fabric shop there to make a throw with and I LOVE this fun souvenir we'll have), visiting friends in Parker, Colorado, Cured, seeing my buddy Kim at the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau (we met at a conference in May) and both of us thoroughly enjoying each other's company (I was worried we'd get sick of each other and we didn't at all!). I surprised my husband with wanting to hike and go and be outside-it was a side of me he hasn't seen before.  It was so pretty there it almost hurt to be inside.  Ryan got to check out the Boulder Fleet Feet (he worked at the STL Fleet Feet for a bit), we had a really nice dinner out before we left and we both appreciated and enjoyed the time away.

We're checking out cabins at Chautauqua for next year and I'm scheming as to how to get my bike out there.....

And that does it for my Colorado vacation highlights!  Thanks for sticking through all those :)  


  1. Such a wonderful moment! How beautiful!

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