Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Colorado in Review

DISCLAIMER: This is one of "those" posts.  I will be posting loads of vacation photos, and you will be forced to look at my short stubby legs should you continue to read this.  There, I warned you.

Since I spent a week away in early July, I know you're dying to hear what happened while I was gone, right? RIGHT!  Mostly, I did some pretty bada$$ hiking and I want to show off, but let's just pretend that you all have been dogging my incessantly asking for photos, mmmkay?

So, as soon as we landed in Denver and rented a car, we went straight to Costco to load up on food, since the cabin where we stay has a full kitchen and we're all cheap (wasn't I lucky to marry into a family that is just as cheap as me? Match made in heaven!).  Do any of your families play silly vacation games?  Mine always has, and I passed it on to my in-laws who embraced it whole heartedly.  The game is called: Mullet Spotting.  Yep.  Self explanatory.  But you MUST take a picture, which can be tricky.  Eric and I were in the lead right away when we spotted this beauty at Costco, see if you can find it...

  (hint: he's on the right!)

Post Costco, we settled in and decided to take a hike the following day - strong possibility of altitude sickness be damned!  We are rock stars and can definitely go from 1000 feet above sea level to 10000 feet, no prob.  *bad choice alarm!*

We ended up all being fine, but it really was a stupid idea on our parts.  It was so SNOWY!  The locals told us that it was as if it was still late April from the temps and the snow levels *shiver!*  Us AZ folk were LOVING it though (it was 120 degrees here the day we left!).  Here's the trail completely covered in water - it basically became a river...

Short Stubby Legs Photo 1.  They look even better in the mid-calf hiking socks.  Yum.

This trail took us past Ozul Falls, which was breathtaking.  To avoid actually stealing your breath, I chose a picture with Eric and I in it.  It toned down the awesome factor considerably, so enjoy still being able to breathe after looking at this...

Our final destination was Ozul Lake, where my borther in-law and father in law went fly fishing for about an hour and the rest of us enjoyed the (thin) outdoor air (lake was nearly above tree line), and I read some German fairy tales.  Side note: I'm a GIANT nerd and am working on translating the Grimm's fairy tales into English from their original German.  Now you can make fun of me for this and my legs - have a field day.  ;)  We took a group shot, minus my father in law, with the new 3-d capable camera.  We tried to pose in such a way to give the picture some depth...

Classy, right?  I must have channeled Michelle from the picture posted here.  Love me some raptor claws.  If you view this post on a 3d TV with glasses, we will look extra cool.  I'll wait while you go do that....

Here's what the last 1/3 of the hike looked like - gorgeous!

We went on another hike, two days later.  It will forever be affectionately known as Suckfest 2011.  Just kidding... kind of.  We decided to try a triple summit: Flattop Peak, Hallets Peak, and Otis Peak, known as FHO.  We needed to make it to the summit (along the Continental Divide - holy crap!) of all 3 peaks, and SLIDE down the GLACIER on the far side to make it back below tree line before NOON.  Yep, you can't be above tree line when a thunderstorm starts (usually sometime after noon), or you're a sitting duck for lightning strikes.  Nice.

Near tree line on the way up, the trees get all gnarly and lean-y, for lack of better terms...

Eric decided their lean-y-ness needed more emphasis. What a cutie ;)  As we hiked further up, we saw amazing sights...

Here's Long's Peak, a 14er (over 14k feet) that we were supposed to hike on Thursday of our week in Estes, but it was so snow covered it became a technical climb (read: ropes needed and me not interested).  All of a sudden you come to the top of a switchback and see this below you...

That's right.  You see my sweaty face.  And also Crater Lake, which is amazing!  Do you see how it's still half frozen?  It was COLD at 13,000 feet!  But the air was so thin and we were working so hard to breathe that we weren't having trouble keeping warm. 

After hiking across what felt like the largest glacier EVER...

(can you see us waaaay on the right??)

We finally made it to the summit of Peak #1 - Flattop!

After another 4 miles of hiking along the Continental Divide we reached Andrew's glacier slide.

Any geology nerds ou there?  How perfect is that glacial valley?!

Here we are hiking a bit down the glacier to the slide... (bored of this yet??)

Here's my bro in law sliding down the glacier (didn't get any other photos b/c I had the camera and I went 3rd out of 4)...

We had to tie trash bags around our bums to keep dry, and my bro in-law had a little snow "gift" afer he was done.  On the left is me paralyzed with laughter.

Meet Snow-Turd 2011.  Win.

Here's the slide we went down!

B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! Shortly below this we all fell and nearly slid to our deaths.  On sharp rocks.  For real.  I can't believe we didn't break our necks - we were waaay unprepared for the snow.  This was when I decided I was done hiking and going to stick to Frisbee golf.

Here's the pic of the peaks we hiked.  All the way along the highest ridge (seriously, the ENITRE length of the picture - am I nuts?!?!) and slid down a glacier.  BOOM.  Told you I wanted to brag.

We also went fly fishing.  And let me tell you, waders are one of the more attractive pieces of clothing...

Seriously, try to keep the drool off your keyboard, people might be watching you.

Here I am hard at work catching NOTHING with my father in law.  It was COOOOOLD.

We always take a family pic by our cabin.  This year we were in Mountain Ash (on the YMCA grounds - great family vacation if you're in the market!!).

Terrible angle, but that rock was all we had as a tripod, and we couldn't convince it to grow any taller.

We also enjoyed time with good friends while we were there - vacationing with friends is so fun!  Here we all are after go-kart racing and an amazing BBQ lunch.

We had a GREAT trip and can't wait to go back.  If you're looking for an AMAZING family vacation on a budget, become a member of the Estes Park YMCA and rent a 2bed cabin with a fireplace and full kitchen for under $200 a NIGHT.  Mini-golf, Frisbee golf, internet, tennis, archery, kids camp, library, laundry, and much more are INCLUDED.  Plus it's gorgeous and you can WALK into Rocky Mountain National Park.  It's a great fun for our hiking-crazed, go-kart-racing, mullet-spotting family.  Where's your favorite vacation spot?  Do you go to the same place every year, or try to shake it up?  I'd love to hear!  Happy Tuesday, friends!


  1. Ooo, now you're making me want to go back to Colorado...right now.

    Loved your hiking pictures! We hiked 3 trails near Breckenridge. I'm surprised I didn't die on one of them! I can't believe how snowy it is!! Glad you had a good time!

  2. Looks like good summer fun! - You won the giveaway on my blog! Head over to find out how to claim your prize :)

  3. Okay, even the pictures had me laughing, so I can only imagine how hilarious that was in person! And color me SUPER impressed with that hike, it's a doozie! But that absolutely gorgeous landscape would be 1000% worth it. It is *STUNNING*! What an awesome trip!

    P.S. Mullet spotting game = AWESOME SAUCE