Day 1 ReCap — Cog Railway up Pikes Peak (14,110ft), Ash & Tom’s engagement, Garden of the Gods drive-thru AND an hour-half lantern tour at Cave of the Winds.  Kick back on Days 2 & 3?  Nope, not on my watch 🙂

On the road at 730am, family breakfast, then up Hwy 36 to Estes Park for a day in the Rockies.  Driving thru Rocky Mountain National Park on 4th of July weekend is about as all-American as it gets.  Lotta picture opportunities this day.  Wrong time of the year to see wildlife – but still viewed chipmunks, marmots & elk (far in the distance – good to have a zoom lens).  ALSO kinda fun for folks to see snow & bundle up in sweatshirts and long pants in July.

Stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center for souvenirs & snacks, then back down the mountain, quick chocolate fix at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, dinner at Mimi’s Cafe, followed by game night at the hotel.  LOVE LOVE family game night 🙂

  • Youngest player starts with 2 extra cards (unspoken rule)
  • Never wear glasses (safer to struggle & squint)
  • Never go the bathroom (will return to extra cards in your hand)
  • Stay alert (or you may miss a turn)
  • Volunteer to be the score keeper (less chance for math errors in my favour)

Gotta say Uno ‘house rules’ did not help this year – all kids are now grown & wise to my ways 🙁

Up again early on Day 3 for a high altitude hike (it’s a vacation, right?)  The 20 & under crowd stayed behind (& slept) while six of us older folks ventured to Chautauqua Park in Boulder.  Plan A – hike to Devils Thumb.  Plan B – hike to Royal Arch.  Ok, ok these are Flatlanders (and family) – so went with Plan C:  Mesa Trail to NCAR.

2.5 mile (one-way) hike through Ponderosa pines & panoramic views of Boulder at 6,200ft.  Super fun day hike — very proud of my fit family.  At NCAR, 3 of us trail ran back to Chautauqua to retrieve cars — in only 38 minutes!

Showers, hotel check out & airport departures.  Unfortunately all good things come to an end.

Ro enjoyed last minute family time while Ash, Michaela & Maddie showed off souvenirs purchased for cousins who could not attend this year (closest to $40 total without going over).  This year’s games winner: Madeline.



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2 Responses to all-American family vacation

  • Joyce Nichols says:

    Everyone looks great! Please promise me that when Jim and I come to visit that you will not plan a lot of hikes. We are TRUE flat landers and need lots of rest and relaxation, especially with Ro. 🙂

    • Snow shoeing in the winter is super FUN & not much elevation – plus Ro enjoys the snow. Soup & pie in Estes at the Baldpate Inn followed by a mineral hot springs bath in Steamboat maybe. Come visit. Lots of outdoor things to do in Colorado which don’t have to include summitting a 14er 🙂

      On next year’s travel wish list (Sept 2014), I want to see the annual buffalo roundup at Custer State Park in South Dakota…followed by a half-day at Mt Rushmore. Can’t bring Ro though 🙁 Feel free to tag along – it should be super fun!

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