Sunday, July 15, 2012

Colorado Vacation July 5, 2012. Estes Park. Rocky Mountain National Park.

Now that I've told you all about our traveling to Colorado, I thought you actually might like a post where I discuss what we did in Colorado. Haha! Be warned. We took a whole lot of pictures. I'm going to try to narrow them down, but honestly. My husband was a commercial photographer. He takes amazing vacation photos, and I feel it would be a shame not to share them in our family blog. So, I'll try to keep the commentary to a minimum, but there are lots of gorgeous photos to come this week!  First of all, we started out from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday. This was my view from the passenger side as taken by my iPhone. (Mix of fancypants camera photos with iPhone pics to come. You have been warned.)

We drove through a few towns you might have heard of including Bolder, Colorado (amazing!) and this was our view coming into Estes Park, Colorado from the car.
 We decided to stop, let Little Man out, and take some photos at the entrance sign to Estes Park. Usually I'm a photo in front a sign kind of girl, but vacations with babies can change how you do things. Here are a few of my favorite shots. (May I also recommend that you get a tripod for truly nice family photos. It is worth the investment, I can assure you. Mr. C even has a remote for his camera--$19--so you can keep shooting the photo over and over again remotely from the tripod. This allows us to get some awesome photos. There's our secret.)





Upon entering Estes Park, Colorado, we realized it was around lunchtime so we stopped at a random dive diner to eat burgers. It was called The Mountain Grill. I don't really recommend it. It wasn't horrid, it just wasn't that great. The company of these handsome fellows was amazing, though! =)

We stopped at the Estes Park Visitor Center to plan out our day. (We kind of fly by the seat of our pants on vacations.) It was fun to take Micah to the river because he is so excited about water these days. 
 Daddy found out why you have to actually buckle your child into a stroller.
 Also: if you ever fly with children you can take the car seat and stroller on the plane (gate checked) for FREE. Yes, the jogging stroller made it all the way to Colorado with us. It was worth it because we got some serious use on some trails with it!

We started out in the valley looking off at the mountains in the distance. Mr. C picked an "off road" trail to drive which was actually a dirt road. I was a bit scared of this decision because we had rented a Honda, but I figured why not?
 So off we went into the wilderness as our cell phone service disappeared.
 (A shot of the Civic we rented on the literal dirt road trail. Mental note: don't be cheap even with three people on vacation. We should have rented the SUV. This car was way, way too small!)
Me, in the mountains just off the dirt road.
 There were some amazing streams and waterfalls.
 Daddy & Micah waving at our family back home. (I posted this picture on Facebook that day.)
 Then we saw snow! (This was about the time we realized how underdressed we were for this entire trip with our shorts and t-shirts.)


We continued to explore the dirt road to come across a pile up of cars. I'm a national park junkie, and I know when I see a pile up of cars there is an animal near by. We pulled over, and sure enough with a small trek back into the forest these elk were in full view!

(We left Micah in the car with one parent, and then we switched out seeing the elk. In know way was Micah in any danger from an elk attack.)

Mr. C took these pictures with his camera and zoom lens:



I actually took this picture with my iPhone, and I added some filters in Instagram. I love how it turned out, and it lets you see how close I was to these amazing creatures!

We continued our drive through the dirt road until we came upon a visitor's center at the top of a high point in the mountains.
 The views all around were stunning, and I was just in awe of my great God.

 At the top of the visitor's center was an observation deck, so I went out first to get some photos of the snow. It is crazy to see snow in July, and I remember the temp was 45 degrees at the top of the summit.
Just some crazy self photos on the summit to show the wind and the snow.


 Then we bravely brought Micah out for a nanosecond to shoot photos. (All of these were taken on my iPhone.)
 I love this photo!
 Daddy & Micah (still on the iPhone)
Then we began our descent back to the valley.
 Once we got back to Estes Park, we took another walk break for Micah. These walk breaks were great because there were plenty of beautiful places and paths to walk. It was very, very family friendly! It also gave me some great exercise for the week. We got so much exercise this week, that we actually lost weight despite eating at random restaurants.

We found this lake, and Micah enjoyed looking at the ducks.
Mr. C took this iPhone pic for me. (He got tired of taking iPhone pics because it was "redundant", but sometimes the only internet we had for the whole week was on my phone. This allowed me to email and post at least a pic or two on Facebook to tide our family over until I could blog.)

 Then, of course, we took the tripod family shot with Mr. C's camera.

Every day, I'd used this app on my iPhone called PicStitch to send a couple of text pictures out and update Facebook. It worked out really well since I only had to send one picture instead of four or five pictures. Here's one of my picstitches from that July 5.

 Finally, it was time to head back to our hotel in Denver. It took us nearly two hours to get back with traffic, and I'd say this little one was tired!!

I hope you enjoyed our first day of vacation! More pics to come!  

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