John's brother and his family came to visit us, and we spent most of last week in Grand Lake, CO. Grand Lake is on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park and is absolutely beautiful. It was our first time there, but definitely not our last.
The last two summers we have vacationed in Estes Park, CO (on the eastern side of RMNP) and we probably would have returned there had we not had such a hard time finding a place to stay. That's what happens when you start looking only one month before you plan to arrive. Long story.
Anyway, we all loved Grand Lake. The lake is beautiful, the mountains are stunning, and the town is quaint and adorable. I actually think I liked it better than Estes Park because it wasn't as crowded, and because the town is built around the lake. And because they had an ice cream shop on the boardwalk that served quite possibly the best ice cream I've ever eaten. It was dee.lish.ous!
We enjoyed visiting all the shops in Grand Lake, and hanging out at the cabin, but my favorite part of the trip was time spent in Rocky Mountain National Park. I am in love with that magical place. This year, we did something I've never attempted before. We drove Trail Ridge Road from Grand Lake to Estes Park. Trail Ridge Road is the highest major highway in North America and tops out at 12,183 feet above sea level. And folks, that's some serious elevation. Especially for a girl who is quite afraid of heights. Riding in the backseat helped (thank goodness I don't get carsick) and the views were AMAZING. Most of the photos I took in the post below were taken from one of the high points along Trail Ridge Road. Beautiful, huh?
The kids and their cousins were proud of me conquering my fear of heights and changed the words to "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" to "Mer went over the mountain...and we're so proud of her." They got so carried away with it that they each took turns inserting their names into the song and finishing with a verse of their own creation. Very cute and I love to witness their creativity in process!
We hiked some too...and saw some beautiful scenery and some wildlife including chipmunks, a duck family, and many elk. I was really hoping to see a moose, since they live on the western side of the park and that's where we spent most of our time, but our moose hunts proved unsuccessful. Didn't see any bighorn sheep either, which would have thrilled my heart. That just means I'll have to return again and keep my heart hopeful for a future glimpse.
On the way back home, we stopped in Denver for a Colorado Rockies game. My niece is a big baseball fan, and was so looking forward to the ballgame. I think we all were. Minutes after we parked, it started
Anyway, we had a terrific time with them, and I believe someone casually mentioned visiting Yellowstone National Park next summer. Count me in!
Because the kids start back so school soon, I've declared this a week of mandatory rest. I intend to go nowhere. We've stocked up on library books, and we're holing up in the house for nothing but rest and relaxation. I always think that vacation means rest, but who can rest when there is so much to see and do? So...this week is rest and recovery for us!