Thursday, July 30, 2015

Colorado Summer Trip ~ Days 4 & 5

The woodstove fire was stoked at night, but simply ashes come morning. 
When your cup of coffee steams profusely, you know it's cold inside. 
Our breakfast song also steamed the air in front of our singing mouths! "For ye shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing..." 

We started our big last day rolling over Tomichi Pass again. The winding trail took us through many puddles and streams, next to waterfalls and lush forest undergrowth. Here we are on top of the world...

No stopping for snowball fights or licks this time. Cora even forgot to look down at the Jeep remains she was so worried and chattering about on that scary part of the trail. She did notice the chipmunks and marmots scampering in front and beside us and the deer in the valley below.

Hancock Pass wasn't nearly as awful as I remembered. We did get off the Ranger once on a super sharp switchback, but the 4-wheeler kept on a truckin'. We met a nice family at the top who we took a picture of and they in turn did of us.

Destination St. Elmo! We brought along salted sunflower seeds that the little chipmunks would not touch. (So we humans enjoyed them on the trip home.) Once purchasing a baggie of the black birdseed kind from the touristy general store, the girls had no problem getting critters to perch near or even on their hands.

We picnicked on the steps of the historic Post Office before heading over Tin Cup Pass. We enjoyed the scenic ride up, near a rushing stream with numerous pristine camping opportunities. I'm not sure I'd want to haul everything in there, but the sights are fabulous!

Near the top of the pass we got into more snow. 

The ride down was hobbledy hoy, hobbledy ho over numerous rocks, but at the bottom Mirror Lake is a beautiful sight and even fun to drive through if you have to.

We stopped for a snack and chat, but no fishing as we pressed on to get back to the cabin before too late. Over Cumberland Pass to Pitkin and back through Wanita and Black Sage.

Eight or nine hours since we'd set out found us cooking stir fry over the fire, fishing in the creek, and relaxing in the Pines.

The next morning we tidied up our temporary Colorado home, before venturing back out on the highway. 

Down the mountain, alongside the Arkansas River, stopping quickly at Royal Gorge. The mountain goats (or sheep) met us in the parking lot! We peered through the fence steeply at the tiny river and train tracks far below winding their way along the canyon bottom.

Finally back in Kansas flatland, witnessing another of God's beautiful sunsets in the vast sky as we travel along on the old Santa Fe Trail.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Colorado Summer Trip ~ Day 3

Over the pass to find Little Baldy.
We studied the maps and had a hazy idea of the way we took 7 years ago...
...and we made it! To the top!
Certainly not the trail straight up we used years ago.
And certainly not the quickest route.
But we explored some new-to-us terrain, and gave Granny a chance to drive all morning.

Along the way we snagged our fishing lines and spent some time untangling.

We found some more beautiful wild roses.

And a forest field of lavender loveliness growing beneath the tall tall Pines and Aspens.

Ahhh, here we are exploring the tip-top and morning's destination. Eating another picnic in the clouds.

I think they're enjoying life, don't you?

Next stop, Wanita Hot Springs Reservoir. (That's what we called it anyway.)

We used our repaired lines to fish, but only caught a lot of nibbles and 1 trout. (Plus a funny photo expression!)

Oh, and many more flowers! 
Bouquets for Mamaw. Bouquets for the Ranger. Bouquets for the cabin.
(Yep, Colorado 4-wheeling has a different flair with 6 ladies along.)

What was intended to be a short day, lasted all day. 
However, we still managed to enjoy the grilled chicken supper, creek fishing, father/son jaunt to Tarpaper Shack, replenishing firewood, a warm woodstove fire, hummingbird entertainment, and s'mores with service.

Vacation is good.
God is Great!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Colorado Summer Trip ~ Days 1 & 2

The Arkansas River drive from Canon City to Salida  proved for beautiful mountain sights of white water rafting and trains, etc.

The little girls barely took a nap during the 10 hour drive, so once we arrived at the cabin in White Pine, they complained that they were sick, then promptly fell asleep before supper was ready.

It was chilly in the Rockies for us prairie folks that had driven away from 100 degree weather. Hence the blanket and winter hat.

The first morning, some slept in, and some took a walk. We found a crudely built shack with a couple of swings, and enjoyed the woods opening up to a creek in the valley.

On the trail!
The 4-wheeler navigated over the rocks much more smoothly than the 4-seater ranger. 
Bumpety-bump, roll, sway. 

Just above tree-line it started to rain, so we all tucked in under the tarp to wait it out.
Thankfully it didn't last long!

Then we took a photo op. 
Grandparents' 1st time on the trail, 2nd time in Colorado.
Our family's 2nd time on this trail, 5th time in Colorado.

Around the bend, coming down from the top of Tomichi Pass were a couple of patches of snow that some of us hiked up to. Daddy tried to throw a snowball way down to those resting in the ranger. Little girls followed suit.

Mmmm. Snowballs in July!

Our picnic lunch on Alpine Tunnel trail was interrupted by rain and sleet balls, so we all cozied up in the ranger again to finish eating. This time it did not let up, so we drove into Pitkin wet and cold hanging onto the tarp in the biting wind. 


We sipped coffee and hot chocolate at the gas station until the sky cleared and headed on to the cabin.

Apparently it hadn't rained at the cabin. 
We busied ourselves with building fires inside the wood stove and outside in the fire ring, sipping more hot drinks, and playing outside in the crisp mountain air.