On the last week of May, my family took a lovely week-long vacation in the mountains of Colorado.
After a looooooooong car ride, we had finally left the hills of home behind, passed the giant plain that is Kansas, and seen our first mountains!
We had a little cabin-- well, quite a large cabin compared to what I was expecting, and it felt as though we were sitting in the lap of luxury-- and spent the week exploring the area.
I took nearly 600 photos during the course of that week! I had a hard time picking out my favorites to share with you all. I decided not to post many pictures of my family (which narrows down my "favorite photos" considerably!), so here's the story of our vacation in non-people pictures!
Caution, PHOTO OVERLOAD.
For all that about not posting people pictures, I had to share this one of my grandma because she is so beautiful and happy.
My brothers and I quickly named this solitary pond "Mirromere" due to it's brilliant blue hue. (Mirrormere is from the Dwarvish lands in Middle Earth, and I remember Alan Lee's watercolor illustration having this same startling dark blue).
We rode across the Royal Gorge in this awesomesauce arial tram.
Of COURSE this grabbed my attention right away! This lovely old eroded sundial was wrapped with coils upon coils of wire and provided the tension for the arial tram.
The view was breathtaking-- this area of Colorado was much more bright and colorful than the flat grays and dull greens that permeated the rest of the landscape. The forests there were so interesting; you could actually walk among the trees in the springtime! At home, the underbrush is so thick that even if you wore clothing to protect you from poison ivy, poison oak, and that ubiquitous thorn plant, you'd have a hard time finding footing among all the plants.
A beautiful reminder found on the ground, we resuced it. :)
This picture is for my Papa! He is always taking cool architectural shots.
RIIIIIIGHT. Because people usually go fishing with fishing lines around 2,000 feet long.
Me and my sis on the carousel.
We drove on a freakishly narrow, winding, and crumbling road that was once a railway. I don't know why, but I have a fasination with tunnels. They are so pretty (although I'm glad it was my dad driving!).
But we were in for an even scarier ride! We drove up Pike's Peak (elevation 14,115 feet-- you know, around thirteen thousand plus miles higher than home, no biggie).
The highway up the road had no railing, sharp turns, and drop offs of several hundred, if not thousand, feet. In the above picture you can see the edge of the road in the far left corner. I took that WHILE we were driving up the mountain in a 12 PASSENGER VAN. The picture does not do justice to the adreneline-pumping scariness, exhileration, and majesty of that car ride.
My grandma told us a story about her own drive up this mountain, over twenty years ago. My dad's whole family was riding in their station wagon, and halfways up the mountain their car failed! They had to stop and drive the hour and a half down the steep road in a vehicle that half worked!
Boring people take the safe little cograil.
Too cute not to share. My little brother, conquering the mountian with a big, fat, red lollipop.
If you ask him what his favorite memories are, he'll reply:
The Charlie! (He means the "trolley" that we rode across the Gorge's bridge)
My cookies! (A waiter accidently slammed his fingers in a restraunt's door and gave my him four GINORMOUS cookies, which he happily did not share with the rest of the family).
Buffy! (Buffy the Buffalo, his souviner. It's a stuffed buffalo that apparently says WOOF WOOF WOOF!)
By the way, we got chased off the mountain.
We were on the peak taking pictures and losing our breath while running happily around rocks higher than the clouds, when the employees in the shop came out to tell us that we had to leave. Now.
There was a strong windstorm coming and there was a good danger of being blown off the mountain.
So we all pile into the top-heavy 12 passenger van, followed by cheerful warnings such as "be careful, your windows may be blown out" and "don't overheat your brakes, because they may fail and you could, you know, fall off the mountain."
We made it safely down, thank goodness! It was so much fun. :) Although we all did get frightened when we heard a loud POP-- but it turned out it was just a chip bag exploding due to the change in air pressure.
A petrified sequoia tree several millions of years old and preserved by volanic ash. We had a lovely time at this little national park, and our guide was full of amazing information. We were even filmed! A local news reporter was doing a peice on the park and they specifically waited to start the tour until our large gang was ready. Oh, and we talked to an archeologist who was excavating there, and my wanna-be-paleontologist brother got to pick up a 10,000 year old rock.
This is why you didn't want to go out barefoot!
At the cabin.
People (read: my family) keep laughing at this picture of me, but I liked the mirror!
We collected the neatest rocks that littered the yard: granite and micah and quartz and something else we couldn't recognize. Also petrified wood. A big change from home, where everything is limestone limestone limestone, and more limestone.
The mountain air drained us quickly, and we spent the evenings hanging out, playing games, watching Pysch re-runs before bed, and soaking in the hot tub. I also loved snuggling up on the rocking chairs with Der Stein der Weisen. Which I can kinda-read. Sorta. Not really. I can only catch every fifth word, but it's enough for me to follow a familiar storyline.
Some of the trees around the cabin. My bookworm-genius brother and I geeked out when we saw a juniper and gleefully creeped out our siblings with a very vivid retelling of that gruesome fairytale.
On the back proch sat this gorgeous, well-worn telescope.
It didn't work very well, but it was very pretty...
My mom, a civil engineer, told us that it's a transit used by surveyors. She gave a long complicated explanation on how the measuring sticks (which do not go by regular inches) are used in conjunction with the transit scopes and some sticks that are apparently in the ground every square mile of the nation (?) to figure out elevation.
The above picture is one of my favorites, from the Continental Divide.
It was a stunning vacation. ^_^ *sighs from happiness*