Climb Up the Mountain; Slide Down the Stream

I’ll probably have to break this into two/three posts–it’s very picture heavy. And if you have no interest in what I do when I’m not at work…best to move along for a couple of days. These are the dreaded “look at my vacation photo” posts. Just be glad I’m not forcing you to sit through all 180 pictures that are on my computer (150 of which are being slowly uploaded into Flickr).

After nearly ten months of planning (last year before Christmas) the Tech Sergeant and I headed for TS’s parents’ place in Colorado. They are about 30 minutes out of Boulder, with an absolutely incredible mountain backdrop outside the windows. I’d never been that far west before (Minneapolis and Des Moines just don’t feel west to me, for all that they are on the other side of the Mississippi) and the difference there was just amazing.

Somehow I’d forgotten the elementary studies of Colorado where they mention that it’s a desert. Along with Denver being a mile above sea level, which my lungs took note of but didn’t complain about too much, it’s dry. We never went anywhere without a bottle of water or three and of course all of that hydration meant I took quite the tour of powder rooms across the Longmont/Boulder/Denver/Estes Park area.

Our second day there I was pried out of bed at a wholly unreasonable hour to go fishing. The hour was made only slightly less unacceptable in that I gained an hour flying out. But I’d promised and so I duly suited up in hip waders and followed our knowledgeable and very patient guide into a stream. This particular stream happens to be one of many that comes from snow melt. In late August it was very chilly water.

(Tech Sergeant in the Blue Hat–Me–and Guide JB)

I’d never been fly fishing before but enjoyed the meditative quiet of it, casting and trailing the line. And while I would have been most content with that–I did catch a fish.

No worries, he’s still swimming. Trout where we were are catch and release only and I was very happy to let this one swim away.

The next morning was my turn to pop out of bed bright and early–for while he wanted to take me fishing, I wanted TS to go with me to the alpaca festival. And thus, with Mom and Dad (his not mine), we headed up to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.

(Tech Sergeant and Me)

After petting lots of alpaca and some alpaca yarn purchases (so pretty, so fluffy and soft) and after alllllmost talking his mom into a gorgeous felted alpaca coat (and an alpaca or three…), we had lunch in Rocky Mountain National Park, by the Alluvial Fan, which was created in 1982 when a natural dam broke and sent water and boulders hurtling through a pass. TS decided he wanted to climb up to one of the ridges and so he and I charged up the side of the mountain. (These shoes ended up being perfect for this kind of gallivanting up rocks and down cold streams.) Here’s the view from where we stopped–if you blow the picture up we started at the small wooden bridge in the bottom right corner.

Now that we’d achieved up—we had to navigate down. Did I mention we were standing next to a stream?

The water had made a lot of the huge boulders very slippery–so what we couldn’t climb down we just slid down. Made it to nearly the bottom in one piece–and then waded out in even more frigid water than the day before for a photo op (not on my camera). The water was COLD!!!

Meg, who patiently let me shove my camera in her face, is here to tell you there’s more…but in another post.