Friday, May 2, 2008

Colorado, Day Two

Because Saturday was the anniversary of Zachary's death, we were purposeful about peace. We opted to spend the day in high in the mountains, so early Saturday morning, we drove from Denver to Estes Park.

James told me to pack warm clothes for our trip, but here in Texas, it's between 70-85 degrees on average. How much colder could Colorado be? I packed jeans and a couple of long sleeve t-shirts, and while in Denver, dressing that way was fine. It was slightly colder in Denver than in Texas, but nothing that a little complaining wouldn't take care of.

As we drove to Estes Park, however, the temperature dropped with the rising elevation. We stopped at about three different stores on the way for me to buy a jacket. But evidently, 40 degrees and sunny is springtime in Colorado, and all the stores were selling bathing suits, not jackets. We finally found a Texas A&M sweatshirt at a TJ Maxx just outside of Boulder. (In fact, the only non-springy options in the entire store were three A&M sweatshirts and one from Georgia Tech. Otherwise, there were no coats, no jackets, no Colorado sweatshirts -- nothing else.) I thought our find was a score (whoop!), but James wondered if having so many unsold sweatshirts reflected poorly on his school. Whatever. I was warmer, and ultimately, that's all that mattered.

We arrived in Estes Park and wandered in and out of all the quaint little stores. We sampled wine and cheese at Snowy Peaks Winery, and tried a couple of micro brews at the Estes Park Brewery. We stumbled across a place called "Dick's Rock Museum," and while we didn't take a tour, we wondered who Dick was, why he displayed his rock collection in a museum, and what the tour guide may be required to say. ["Dick found this rock in Galveston, and it's very special to him," etc.] Though it was totally stupid, we had a really good laugh.

Estes Park

Dick's Rock Museum

After picking up some t-shirts and souvenirs for the kids in town, we planned to drive up into Rocky Mountain National Park. James expressed his desire to see some wild animals, and said even a turtle would make his day. Instead, as we wound around Estes Park and toward the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, we stumbled across an RV Park overrun with elk. I wasn't sure if we'd see anymore animals, so I made James drive onto the property for a closeup. (Incidentally, the RV park was named Elk Meadows, so it may have been a setup.) It proved unnecessary, as the foothills in the National Park was overrun with elk who were even less concerned about people and cars.

Elk are to Colorado
as Fireants are to Texas

After admiring the elk, we drove up towards Bear Lake. We stopped at one point for a quick hike, hoping to see Alberta Falls. People decked out in snow shoes with walking picks passed us as they left the trail while we slipped and slid around in tennis shoes and Privos (which are most definitely not meant for the snow). Halfway up the trail, I wandered a bit off the packed down snow only to discover it was at least a foot and a half deep. At that point, James decided he didn't want to build a snow cave and battle mountain lions after my inevitable broken ankle, so we turned back towards the car. We drove up to Bear Lake, hiked a very short distance, and spent the rest of our time there.

It was an extraordinarily peaceful day. We had plenty of time for quiet reflection and experienced a great deal of solace. Despite the sad undertones, Saturday was the best and most worthwhile day of the whole trip.

Up next, Day Three and the journey home...

Atop the Mountains


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