Monday, August 31, 2009

Back to School!

It's back to school time in Telluride! I forgot to take a picture of Savanna before she raced out the door to meet her friends, so I shouted at her in the parking lot so I could take one. Garrett was probably the least excited to go back to school today.
Maralee is always ready to go to school. She loves seeing all of her friends and teachers.
I'm kind of sad when summer is over because it's the end of our summer trips, family Jeeping, hiking and camping. We did pack as much into our summer as possible, though!
I also want to say Happy 6th Birthday to my nephew Parker!! I hope he is enjoying his school day, too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garrett is 15!!

Yesterday Garrett turned 15 years old!! He spent his birthday on a trip to Denver with the youth group going to a Rockies game and going paintballing. He is taller than me now and his voice is so deep that when someone calls, they usually think they are talking to Jay. Tenth grade starts Monday!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Handies Peak Hike, Elevation 14,048 Feet

This week we did something HUGE as a family. We hiked a 14er!! In case you don't know the slang, a 14er is a mountain that is above 14,000 feet above sea level, and Colorado officially has 53. Handies Peak is rated the 10th easiest to hike. We drove back to American Basin off of Cinnamon Pass to the trail head, back to the place we visited two weeks ago. I spent most of the time behind everyone on the hike, so a lot of these photos show Jay and the kids from behind. At least you can get an idea of what the trail looked like.
The beautiful ridge above American Basin.
We had an elevation gain of about 2,500 feet, so we were going up most of the way.
Finally the peak comes into view.
I had originally set a goal for Maralee and I to at least make it to Sloan Lake. It seemed like since we made it that far, we should go ahead and summit.
Looking back.
There were marmots and pikas all over the place chirping at us all day long. One pika almost ran right over Garrett's backpack during a rest break.
The trail isn't really as narrow or steep as it looks here. This hike literally has almost no exposure. Even if you slipped and fell here, you wouldn't tumble down the mountain or anything.
Of course, we took a lot of breaks. Jay even carried Maralee a few times.
Looking back at Sloan Lake.
Before the final stretch, I was ready to give up and wait with Maralee and let Jay, Garrett and Savanna go to the summit. Jay was sure Maralee and I could make it, so we just took it slow. I was mostly nervous about having to walk back down this part of the trail.
We did it!! It was chilly and windy, and started to snow on us!
This is the tube with the register inside. I was so excited to fill it in!
Now for the part that I regret. I failed to get decent summit photos of Jay and I. Our friend Steve Garufi of always has a great summit photo of all of his hikes. Since we had the peak to ourselves, there wasn't anyone to take a family photo. I snapped only one photo of Jay thinking I would get a better one later. Then he took the camera for a bit.
Jay took a photo of me while I checked to see if I had cell service and I took some photos with my phone. I was honestly really scared about hiking back down those steep places. I can't believe I never looked up and at least smiled! Oh well, at least we have proof that we were there. :)
Sloan Lake definitely looks like a puddle from the summit.
Uncompahgre Peak is just right of center here. Wetterhorn is left of Uncompahgre and looks very different from this view compared to the sharp point that we usually see. I know Redcloud and Sunshine are out there somewhere, but I'm not familiar enough with them to recognize them.
Jay and Garrett climbed Uncompahgre Peak last year. I guess I'm just fascinated with it because it has such an usual shape, and it's also the 6th highest mountain in Colorado.
Going back down wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I used hiking poles and didn't slip much. Jay held Maralee's hand most of the time. Garrett and Savanna did this entire hike like it was a piece of cake.
Back in the basin.
A lot of the poor wildflowers are really shriveled up in American Basin. I took this photo thinking this is how I felt at the end of the hike. It was a great experience and I'm glad I did it, but I definitely won't be one of those people trying to bag all of the 14ers!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fun Around Cañon City

We camped at the Royal Gorge KOA last week because they had a lot of fun things for the kids to do. It was $5 to ride the giant slide all day. We did learn how important it is to stay sitting down facing forward on the slide as a little boy decided to turn around halfway down and cut his forehead open just above his eye! I was worried about them on the slide after that happened.
KOA miniature golf.
The girls and I had to find something to do when Jay and Garrett went on their full day rafting trip. We needed a few things at Wal-Mart, but to make it a little more exciting, I drove the girls over Skyline Drive.
We went back to the Gorge and road the little train.
The view of the Royal Gorge Bridge from the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway.
Then we went to Buckskin Joe's, which is a replica of an 1860's frontier town. We saw two shoot-outs and two magic shows that afternoon.
At the restaurant, I had a HUGE and delicious burrito.
This little donkey looked tired and must have been trying to get out of the hot sun.
My dad has photos of me and my little brother like this one.
A couple of videos of the kids riding the giant slide.

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

Last week we went to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park near Cañon City. The first time I went there I was a little kid, and it seems like it was only a couple bucks to cross the bridge. Things have changed there, and now it is sort of an amusement park with a $24 admission price for adults, which includes everything in the park except for the SkyCoaster. Built in 1929, the Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest suspension bridge in the world.
View of the Gorge from the Arial Tram.
The Arial Tram and the SkyCoaster.
Bighorn sheep in the wildlife park.
Maralee riding a donkey.
The Scottish Highland cow.
Outside of the Gorge you can catch a helicopter tour. I guess it depends on the bravery of the tourist as to what the helicopter does. We saw it zoom under and over the bridge, but most times just kind of fly above it.
Jay, Garrett and Maralee rode the SkyCoaster.
Garrett looks kind of bored in jail at the Mountain Man Encampment.
We walked across the bridge, road the trolley across and drove across in the Jeep.
Restaurant and Plaza area. They show a 17 minute film in the Plaza Theater about the history of the bridge.
Maralee on the carousel.
I caught a picture of these hummingbirds while we waited in line to ride the Incline Railway.
Looking up at the bridge from the bottom of the Gorge after we descended on the Incline Railway.
This is the world's steepest Incline Railway built in 1931.
We all had a great time, and we were at the park from the time it opened until it closed! Here is a short video of Jay, Maralee and Garrett on the SkyCoaster. I didn't video the entire ride because I also wanted to take photos.