|Lucy's opinion of my written account of our trip.|
Prepare for picture overload. I warned you!
We woke up bright and early to enjoy our first full day in Denver. We chose to spend the bulk of the day exploring the Boulder, CO area. Boulder is very much an up-and-coming, college town with a hefty price tag for most of its real estate. However, we really enjoyed strolling around downtown boulder. The little city is located at the base of a mountain and if you look straight upwards, you will see these enormous flat iron boulders towering above you. It's a beautiful, impressive sight. In Boulder, there was quite an eclectic mix of people: college students, outdoor enthusiasts, upper class families, businessmen, hipsters, and, unfortunately, many homeless individuals with camp set up around the riverbank. We spent our time strolling through the downtown shops, exploring the parks, and picking our way through the elaborate farmers market. I especially loved seeing all the beautiful produce, baked goods, and specialty food items that were for sale in the farmer's market. It was incredibly impressive!
Later, we met up with a friend from home who recently defected to Colorado. It was great catching up with him a bit as we enjoyed lunch in the park. Lucy took the opportunity to enjoy the al fresco experience by sunbathing a bit.
In the late afternoon, we headed out to Left Hand Brewery, one of Paul's favorite microbreweries, where we sampled a couple varieties of beer. Unfortunately because we had Lucy with us, we were unable to tour the facility like Paul had wanted. At first, I encouraged him to do the tour without us and told him that I would just feed Lucy in the little pub attached to the brewery. However, after meeting our bartender who, from the color of his bleary eyes and the oddity of his behavior, had obviously just finished smoking a joint out back, Paul declined my generous offer and chose to stick nearby. I was secretly grateful.
|Lucy is not impressed with one of the Boulder bike shops.|
After the brewery, we continued on a car tour of Longmont, Loveland, and Fort Collins. We took advantage of the fact that Lucy was finally napping in her car seat and didn't really get out of the car to explore the areas. Paul enjoys driving and sightseeing that way, but it was a little boring for me. We went to Mass in Fort Collins and then scarfed down some delicious Mexican food at On the Border in Longmont. Lucy slept for our entire dinner once again which was a real treat! Little did I know that it would be the last meal for the remainder of the trip where I would not have her in my lap.
|Paul being Paul.|
Our second full day in Denver was to be our exploration of the surrounding mountains and the Rocky Mountain National Park. We left the hotel around 6:30 AM to begin our long drive into the mountains. When we planned this trip, I was expecting our exploration of the mountains to involve a little more hiking and a lot less driving. In reality, we spent the majority of the day in the car because it was quite the drive getting to Rocky Mountain National Park. The views were breathtaking and we took several stops just to get out, take pictures, and absorb the scenery. The weather was finicky that day - when we left, it was sunny and hot and by the time we actually made it to Rocky Mountain National Park it was very cold, windy, and stormy. With the change in the altitude came big changes in the weather!
|We came around a bend, and there was Jesus!|
|This gorgeous chapel was just off the road. We drove past it quickly and then turned |
around to come back and check it out. So neat.
|Paul put a creeper filter by accident on the camera while taking these pictures. |
I was too lazy to fix it at the moment.
|If you look close, that's me standing on the porch.|
Notable things we saw during our drive to the park were many beautiful cliffs, a little chapel ensconced in the mountainside, a statue of Jesus (he is everywhere), and some huge elk. We stopped at one point just outside of the park to do a short hike up the side of a ridge. It was really hot and very windy but the biggest annoyance was the sheer amount of bugs that were crawling all over the place thanks to a large nearby pond. That hike was also particularly frustrating because Lucy was fairly fussy and I had to stop at several points to nurse her, There's nothing worse than hiking with a flailing, screaming baby strapped to your front. In fact, it's actually a bit dangerous, especially when the trail gets steep - I almost lost my footing at several points because I couldn't see my feet and she was jerking around so wildly.
|We do not own a selfie stick.|
Rocky Mountain National Park was absolutely breathtaking. The views! The quiet, windy, chill that ripped across the tundra at the top of the highest peaks is something I'll never forget. Standing out on those mountains felt like sitting on the top of the world. It was so peaceful, so still, and calming...other than the mad shutters from hundreds of cameras and the incessant number of tourists posing with their selfie sticks. Other than that,
|Cold, but happy!|
Lucy was pretty sleepy the entire time we were in the park and fell asleep once we climbed to above 12,000 feet. I think it was her reaction to the decrease in oxygen. I wasn't feeling too hot myself, but thankfully we had plenty of water and a provision of snacks that kept me from feeling too ill. It was worth it though, because the sights were so incredible. The pictures speak for themselves!
After leaving Rocky Mountain National Park, we spent a bit of time walking around Grand Lake which, in all honesty, was actually not-so-grand. I think "creepy lake" would be a more fitting description. It looked like at one time it was a thriving tourist spot, filled with boardwalk shops and restaurants reminiscent of towns occupied by gun-toting cowboys of the Old West. Unfortunately, the majority of the boardwalk was in need of repair and many of the shop spaces were unoccupied. What little was there seemed old, dusty, and depressed. We quickly continued along our way.
And we basically drove...and drove...and drove. After about three hours in the car (we had no GPS system and our phones were not working), Paul commented: "Wow. This is taking us a long time to get back." Apparently the route we chose looped further back from Denver than we had thought. We were beginning to get nervous because we were supposed to be picking up Paul's younger brother James from the Denver airport that evening. He had been working at an internship in Denver over the summer and was flying back from a wedding in Texas. We had confiscated his parked car at the airport when we arrived and in exchange had agreed to pick him up when his flight arrived. Lucky for us, there were few cars on the road and once we got out of the mountains, we sped along at a pretty good clip and arrived at the Denver airport only 30 minutes late. Poor James was waiting for us in the terminal when we arrived.
After that, we headed over to an Indian restaurant for a very late dinner buffet. It tasted awesome - we had eaten little more than peanuts and fruit during our time in the mountains. Then, it was back to the hotel to crash for the night.
Part III will be up shortly!