Hey hey hey guys! After a much needed and enjoyed little hiatus, I am happy to say that I am back and ready to share some of my marvelous adventures with you guys! As some of you may or may not know, the hubster and I took a fabulous road trip out to Colorado! We’ve been back for about a week now and just took some time to catch up and get situated back into the normal. But now, I thought I’d share a few highlights, just a taste of some of the things we did and explored, while out in Colorado. There are SO many things I want to share and talk about but I’ll try to trim it down as much as I can and share some of the bigger bullet points for this weeks link up with Katie ! So, let’s get the fun times rollin’….
We hit the road Friday, June 27. We had initially planned to leave after work that day, but we both managed to take a half day and left at noon. Score! That meant we could pound out a lot more miles on Friday, lessening our load for Saturday! The drive was roughly around 15 hours. Oy! We started a start-of-the-each-day selfie, each day at the beginning of the day we’d take a picture together. I’m surprised, we actually were able to keep up with it throughout the trip! 🙂
Day One, obviously all smiles!
The weather was beautiful for driving and we made it about 7 or so hours, leaving just about 7 or so the next day! Gorgeous sunset to end day one…
Day two was all kinds of beautiful yet again. And we were all smiles again!
And yes, if you are wondering, I threw on the same outer loose tank as the day before 😉
Of course, we’d have to take a picture of the Sutherland rest area, because of course it’s named after us!
We purposefully planned our route to take us into Wyoming, so I could say that I’d been to Wyoming. We went to Cheyenne, saw the state capitol, and Scott found his inner Native American model. Rawr.
Our first hike, right outside of Fort Collins. That Colorado sun is no joke. It’s hot. Freakin’ hot. The temperatures were comfortable degree-wise, but dang that sun! I conquered a HUGE fear of mine on this hike, stripping down to just my sports bra aka showing off the mid-section (which I NEVER do). At first I was really uncomfortable with the passerby, but eventually I said F that S and carried on my way. It felt pretty flippin’ awesome. Huge moment for me with my ED recovery/body image.
Not even to the Rocky Mountains yet and I’m already in love with this state. Seriously.
We were in the park for oh maybe 10 or 15 minutes, on our way to finding a place to set camp for the night and this is what we see. Elk just wandering around, crossing the roads. This was the type of welcome I could never have dreamed of!
We set up camp for the night which meant parking our big arse truck and sleeping in the bed on an air mattress. My first experience camping, ever! We woke up bright and early ready for our first full day in the National Park!
Fresh, happy faces after a decent night’s sleep. No make-up and messy hairs. Lookin’ mighty fine.
Our campsite. Bed in the truck, heating up some water for our daily morning instant coffee. Not a bad way to start the day. Quickly learned that nights are chill-ay but when that sun comes out, it heats up fast! 🙂
We literally could not wait to get our first full day in the Rocky Mountain National Park underway. We were so excited to just set out and explore!!
We saw this guy first thing in the morning just chillin’ in the grass on the side of the road. Not a bad way to start off the day!!
These mountains and views are like nothing I have ever seen before. I literally fell in love.
We started climbing up along Trail Ridge Road, which goes from the east side, up into the mountains, and back down on the west side. We saw a whole bunch of elk just hanging out on the mountain side. Pretty awesome!
It got pretty chilly the higher we climbed. But the higher we got, the more spectacular the views become!
From the highest point we hit, it was 53 degrees (AND SUPER WINDY!) I swear there were gusts of 50 miles per hour. When we hit the bottom it went up to 73!
It was so hard not to be constantly smiling here. I was the happiest girl in the world. These mountains, the sunshine, the warmth…it was just all so incredible!
Waterfalls and rushing streams (and the Colorado River) were all over the trails we took. Made for such a peaceful, calm experience.
On the first long hike in the Rockies. This was a long, long hike. The sun was HOT and I started burning even with sunscreen on!
The Loch! It was SO worth the hike (and the intense climb in elevation!) This was just too beautiful. I took a billion pictures!
We were all smiles here…but then we had to make our way back. It was an out and back hike, not a round-trip. So we had quite a long way to go. We ended up running out of water on the hike, with the majority of the hike being in the sun. At one point, we filled up a water bottle in some water near a water fall/mountain stream. When we got back to the parking lot, I was standing still, feeling just fine and then BAM! I started feeling really lighted and nauseous. It was a combination of dehydration and elevation change and my body was just NOT quite ready for that that quickly. But that was a lesson learned and we took more breaks and MUCH more water on all future hikes!
Our evening on the west side of the park was full of male elk! We got SO close to them, too! What an awesome experience to be that close to these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.
Gorgeous sunset in the mountains, making our way back to the east side to set up camp.
We made use of the quiet Monday morning (after seeing just how crazy the town of Estes Park was on Sunday!) and went into town to avoid the crowds!
Hitting downtown Estes Park first thing in the morning. Another beautiful start to the day. This sunshine, if I could only bottle it up…
They made taffy right in the window! Pretty awesome 🙂 It was a really cute town and we were able to snag a lot of mementos for ourselves and some gifts for the family!
It’s just what we do. Chick-fil-A’s cookies ‘n cream milkshake. SO dang good!
We hit up Garden of the Gods right outside of Colorado Springs. It was a hot day, around 90, but fortunately it was mostly cloudy! My sunburned shoulders needed a break! Plus because of the sunburn I think I was getting worn out super quickly. We took a nice, easy day…no long hikes or huge elevation climbs!
We made our way to Mueller State Park where we had planned to camp that night. We took a short, evening hike before calling it quits for the day. Scott spotted a baby deer (I don’t know how on earth he spotted it!) The skies were pretty cloudy, but made for some gorgeous pictures!
This was by far the most beautiful sunset we saw of our entire trip I think. The colors were just gorgeous and the layers of the mountains was just too beautiful!
Waking up, ready to tackle the next day. I think we both slept pretty well and were ready to keep moving forward. Mornings were always on the chilly side, but once that sun came out, things heated up quickly!
We must have had a good night’s sleep or something. We were feeling pretty quirky right away in the morning. 🙂
Scott found a route that would take us on a “scenic” drive through the mountains and to our next destination for the day. This “scenic” ride was just that….because it was on the most backroad roads you could ever find! I’m talking gravel roads here, people! Fortunately, I was poppin’ dramamine as if it were candy and calmed my normally weak stomach enough. But oy, what a drive!
When we made it to one of our first little pit-stops, Scott got excited by our potato chip bag that seemed to balloon up quite a bit with the change in elevation! 🙂
We decided (rather, I decided I had to stomach it!) to do the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway, which climbs 14 miles on winding, super narrow, tight-turned roads to the summit at 14,000+ feet! Some views along the way!
We stopped at the Walter Pesman Alpine Garden as we climbed, which has 1700 year old bristlecones! Me posing with some bighorn sheep! The beautiful Summit Lake!
These guys were so close to butting heads (literally!) but they ended up going their separate ways instead. Boo! That would have been AWESOME!
As we continued to climb, it seemed like the roads got MUCH more narrow and the turns MUCH more tight! Eeek! Our fearless driver. He did awesome!
We made it to the top!!! Altitude sickness is a REAL thing here people. We took it realllllly slow. And we saw MOUNTAIN GOATS! All over!
I think this one is my favorite picture of the entire trip. There is just something so magical about it. Mountain goat + Mt. Evans’ gorgeous views. It’s almost like he’s claiming this land as his. I absolutely love it.
Some up close pictures of the little goats. They were so young and sooo cute! The one on the left was resting on another little guy. The one on the right kept nodding off and falling asleep. 😛
Head-butts of love. I just love this picture SO much. They are so cute (and so soft-looking!)
Of course we had to take a picture to “prove” that we made it to 14,000+ feet! The views were unparalleled! Stunning.
The evening did not go AT ALL how we hoped it would, but we at least got a beautiful sunset, which made it a little better, at least!
New dawn, new day. (Thankfully!) We were crabby the previous night and both in pretty bad spirits. But we swore to each other that we’d wipe the slate clean and start new!
We promised ourselves we’d forget the crummy night before and start the day off fresh and on a good note. Waking up in a hotel was NOT our plan, but it did feel nice taking a hot shower and sleeping in a comfortable bed! (Don’t worry, I’m wearing a bandeau ;))
Our first hike of the day. More waterfalls and gorgeous scenery! Plus, someone said they saw a moose and her calf earlier on this trail! We were super optimistic and hopeful (since we really really really wanted to see a moose!)
After much waiting and binocular-using, we saw the mom. And a little while later, the little one came out, too! Such a great moment!
We hiked and explored the park the remainder of the day. We stumbled upon ANOTHER moose with her young one on one of our hikes. It was pretty neat. Then we headed back to our campsite. This male elk was in the campground the entire day!
Gorgeous trails near our campground. We set out in the evening to find more moose! We were able to spot one roaming on its own.
Those mountains are brutal at night…as in…FREEEEEEZING.
The COLDEST night! It was so cold it was hard to sleep. We were not happy campers (hah, pun was NOT intended! :D) Plus, it’s our last day, too. Boo. But the minute the sun came up over the mountain, it almost warmed up instantly. Pair that with coffee and we were NOW happy campers! 😀
The day started out really gorgeous and sunny. We saw a “herd” of elk and watched them for a good amount of time. At least 40 or more.
Then a storm started to roll in late in the afternoon.
We sat outside for a while to watch the storm roll in, but when it started to rain, we piled back into the truck. Thankfully we weren’t out for our hike when the hail hit us!
We found a place to hunker down outside for a while…with hats, just in case the hail started up again. But something caught our eye and we jumped at the opportunity to get out and check it out closer up!
We saw a herd of about 80+ elk just laying out in the middle of a field. It was the perfect way to end the last day in the park. It was just so neat!
Sadly, we left the park shortly afterward and hit the road. We were going to stay a little bit north in Loveland and then leave first thing in the morning. This was number ONE on my list of “must-finds” (actually, the only thing I really knew I wanted to get). When my dad was younger, he traveled out to Colorado with his parents and grandmother several times and they always got cherry cider out there..and LOVED IT! So I made it my goal to try and find some cherry cider for him. There are only TWO locations in the state that sell cherry cider now and both were in the general area we stayed in…so I was able to snag a big jug for him. He was SO excited and when he tried some, he said it was just like he remembered! 🙂
Heading to our hotel for the night. 😦 Sooo not ready to say goodbye already. At least the skies were gorgeous, though.
Heading home. We hadn’t planned to knock it out in one day (in fact, we planned to split up the 15 hour drive over two days) but got so close to home and were still pretty wide awake, so we made the whole 15 hour drive home that day. Got home around midnight.
Super hot and sunny right away in the morning, making our way home. It’s literally a miracle we were smiling here. I don’t know how I managed it because I woke up crabby, was silent for a GOOD chunk of the first part of our drive just listening to my music with headphones on…and, (I will admit it!) I started to CRY! I have NEVER cried before on any trip. I never enjoyed a trip so much as I did this one and it was literally the hardest thing leaving the beauty and the wildlife, the peace and the serenity all behind.
I literally cannot wait to go back. I miss it like crazy. Looking at the pictures just makes me miss it even more. Colorado stole my heart. I miss it so much I’m even thinking of trying to sneak another trip in in September! 😀 I would be so so so overjoyed if I could manage to head out that way again! 🙂 The BEST trip ever.