Saturday, August 11
We woke up bright and early at 0300 hours to get a head start on our 12 hour drive to Colorado! We wanted to make sure the kids slept through a lot of the drive, but check-in to our cabin wasn't until 4, so early morning it was! We loaded up the kiddos and dogs, then swung by to pick up Laura. She caught the beautiful desert sunrise from the front seat 4 hours in. Us kids in the backseat were busy dreaming of the mountains :)
Annabelle and Michael did amazingly well! I came prepared with lots of snacks, games, new puzzles, and books. We kept each other entertained and the excitement of a new adventure was heavy in the car air :)
The pups were especially happy that Laura came along :)
After arriving in Breckenridge and making a trip to the grocery store to stock up for the week, we finally made it to the cabin, or should I say, mammoth of a cabin! As we were trying to find which cabin was ours, while driving through the neighborhood, we turned the corner to find this huge mansion towering over us. I said, "Wow! What if that one is ours!" We looked at the house number and sure enough, it WAS ours! We all started screaming (well maybe just Laura and I did :) We couldn't wait to get out of the car and explore!
We settled in and waited for the others to arrive. We were meeting up with Shanam's parents and 10 of their Oklahoma friends from when Shanam was just a boy. Two years ago we met them all in Telluride, CO for a week and this year they chose Breckenridge for a reunion. We had been looking forward to this week from the time they booked the cabin, 8 months ago :) And, boy, was it a happy reunion. Two years ago, I was pregnant with Annabelle and now this year we brought along not just 1 kid, but 2 :) They all loved seeing the kids and immediately adopted them as their own grandchildren. Although, no one could ever replace GranEllen and GranTim :)
DAY 2Shanam somehow picked up a flu bug and was flat on his back for the first day!! Such a bummer! (But don't worry, he bounced back pretty quick and was out 4 wheeling the next day :) While he stayed home, Laura and I loaded up the kids and we headed out for a hike with the rest of the group. It was a gentle, little hike that started out on a neat bike trail, but then led us up to a small lake in the woods. It was a great beginning hike to get us acclimated to the altitude. It was wonderful to be out in nature and the kids loved it!
Shanam was feeling a little better after a rough night, so we decided to take it easy and hop in the 4runner for a little off-roading adventure! Tim and Ellen hopped in theirs and followed behind us. The kids did great! Every time we went over big bumps, Annabelle would ask to do it again and Mikey just slept through most of it :) He did love looking out the windows, though, to watch all the tall trees go by. He normally just sees sky out his window :) Half-way up, we let the dogs out so they could run along the trail beside us. Something I will always remember is Laura, in the front seat, laughing hysterically! I didn't know what was so funny and when I asked, all she could squeeze out through her laughter was, "I'm having fun!" I love that girl :)
We made it to the top of the peaks where we all took pictures at the continental divide.
The view was beautiful!
On the way home, we took a different route that led is through the town of South Park.
While stopping to get hot chocolate we couldn't pass up this photo-op :)
Day 4 was the big day! Shanam, Tim, Laura, and Alan set out to climb the tallest mountain in Colorado, Mt. Elbert! This was one of the main reasons Laura came. We have the goal of climbing all the state highpoints. I think this was her fourth or fifth and Shanam's third. I really wanted to go, but couldn't bare to leave Mikey for the whole day while he's still breastfeeding. I'll have a chance to climb it another time :) I woke up early with them to give them a proper send-off. They said the drive to the trail was gorgeous!
The hike climbs 4,000 feet and was pretty steep!
Here they are at the summit, 14,443 ft!!! They all made it!
They had to be sure to be up and back by the time the afternoon thunderstorms came.
The weather was wonderful, though, so they got to stay at the peak for about an hour, taking in the views before heading down. Sophie especially loved overlooking the mountains ;)
Poor Laura had a rough time with her knees descending the steep slopes. There was also a bit of a scary adventure on the ride home. While coming back through a mountain off-road trail, the 4runner's brakes gave out! Shanam had to kick it into low gear and use the e-brake the whole way down! So scary!! We were able to meet them at the bottom and the car was towed back to town to be repaired. What a day!
The three mountain men celebrated their victory with ice cream :)
DAY 5Since we had to bring Laura to the Denver airport that night, we decided to make a day of it and visit Boulder during the afternoon. This is where we eventually want to raise our family, so I was really excited to be able to explore the town! They have a fabulous Waldorf school there and we were able to set up a tour, thanks to Ellen :) The campus is so beautiful and the little classrooms were magical. I hope we get to Boulder in time for Annabelle to attend kindergarten there!
We met up with some friends for dinner at a fabulous Vietnamese restaurant then made our way to the airport after exploring some neighborhoods.
Once again, Laura captured the brilliant light of the sun :)
What better way to enjoy the beautiful mountain air than on a boat? :) The ride was nice and relaxing, hence both kids fell asleep two minutes after leaving the dock, and our surroundings were breathtaking!
Shanam preferred to get his fill of mountain air by mountain biking with the dogs :)
He wore them out, but they loved it!
After getting back, we took a little family outing with GranTim and GranEllen. We found a beautiful, green, lush hike. This was probably my favorite time of the whole trip. We weren't rushed, so we could stop and explore whenever Annabelle wanted to. She and Shanam gathered quite the collection of bark and pine needles. The smells of the forest were invigorating and the weather was absolutely perfect. All felt right in the world :)
Time for another hike! The whole group came on this one. Two of the guys had actually lived in a little teepee for almost a year in the area we hiked around. Crazy! We saw where the teepee used to be and where their outhouse still is! We also heard lots of fun stories about back in the day :)
Crazy thing, is that it only took him 20 minutes to reach the peak!
Since that wasn't enough of an adventure for him, we decided to take a "shortcut" home, through several mountain passes. We loaded up the car and away we went!
The views were some of the most beautiful views I had ever seen!
The trail was pretty crazy in some parts, but Shanam showed his skill and got us all down the mountain safely. What was supposed to be a shortcut, though, turned into a 3 hour trip. I can't even tell you how happy I was when we finally made it onto smooth ground again!
Before saying good-bye to GranEllen and GranTim we spent some time walking around main street. Such a cute little mountain town! We ate lunch at an organic cafe that had been there for 25 years then hit the road. We drove to Santa Fe and stayed the night before finishing the trip the following day. Phew! What a week! We loved every second!