S: 2009 -Volume 2 Summer Vacation
FC: 2009 Summer Vacation Colorado
1: These were taken at the trail head of Hanging Lake trail just outside Glenwood Springs, CO. We decided to take the trail first thing that day, so that we wouldn't end up on the trail too late in the day. This is one of mine and Dawn['s favorite spots, but the trail would be new to Tyler, Mitch and Kat. | SUMMER VACATION | HANGING LAKE TRAIL | June 10
3: Summer Vacation - Part 2 After Tyler's visit to Arkansas, we drove to Colorado to take Tyler home and to embark on the next phase of our vacation. We had been planning a camping, hiking and rafting trip for quite awhile and Dawn had already arranged reservations with the campground at No Name and with the rafting company, also based at the campground. We had camped there before, and also rafted the Colorado River in that area back in 2000, the year before I moved to Arkansas. It was exciting to be going back and I was very much looking forward to it. This would be Tyler's first rafting trip, which made me think about Dawn's first rafting trip when she was the same age as Tyler. Although it had been her idea at the time, she became very nervous at the last minute and had to be encouraged. Of course, once through the first series of rapids, she was hooked. Tyler didn't exhibit any of the nervousness that his mom had at his age, surprising given how he used to be, always thinking about "worst case scenario." He seemed to have snapped out of that mentality and was up for anything. This would also be Mitch's first rafting trip and our first "family camping trip" together.
5: We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. It was bright and sunny, but experience reminded us to take a jacket, because chances are that it will get cooler as we go higher in elevation and closer to the water. The beginning of the trail is along the Colorado River. | Along the edge of the Colorado River | There was a lot of snow melt this year | ...so there was water everywhere.
8: Seemed like around every bend was more water, and Colorado has never looked so green as it did today.
15: Of course, we took lots of pictures... there was no shortage of photo ops. | Tyler and Kat | Dawn and Mitch | Me
16: I thought it was funny when we were hiking and Tyler asked Dawn to tie his shoe. I had to tease him about it a little....and take a picture, of course.
20: Description (excerpts from 100 Colorado Hikes by Scott Warren): "Hanging Lake is tucked away on a high ledge in a narrow canyon.. the route climbs a mile up a strenuous grade that does not quit until it reaches the lake. Such a steep ascent is understandable since this segment of the trail ascends some 1,000 feet. The trail is also rocky in most places. Upon reaching 1.5-acre Hanging Lake, hikers are immediately rewarded with its secretive, Eden-like ambience. Walled in by limestone cliffs and leafy cottonwoods, Hanging Lake resulted from the collection of water in a geologic fault. In addition to such shady deciduous trees as box elders and cottonwoods, an interesting variety of undergrowth can be found at trailside. Perhaps most alluring are the many ferns that form along the streambed. Their presence, along with moss-clad boulders, attest to the humid conditions of this ecological niche.
26: Above left to right: Dawn, Mitch, me (in front), Tyler and Kat
27: I just couldn't get over this view. I think this is my favorite of all the pictures I took of the sights along the trail. I had this blown up into a 20 X 30 poster size and have it hanging in my office. It is so colorful. Truly beautiful and awe inspiring day. God is such an incredible artist!
29: Facing page: These little chipmunks were everywhere along the upper part of the trail. Opportunistic little beggars they are, but very entertaining. Below: Wish the camera did more justice to this scene. This was looking downhill opposite of the lake, where the water was running off into another fall of water. There were so many spots like this.
30: After we'd spent awhile hanging out and enjoying Hanging Lake, we hiked back to the trail that led up to Spouting Rock. At first glance, the area appeared to be more of the same....lots of green, streams and waterfalls created by the run-off. | This huge, flat rock was extremely slippery, even wearing good hiking boots. This trail goes up behind the lake a bit, but is really quite short.
31: That's me and Tyler at the bottom of the falls in the 2 pictures below. There were these annoying people that kept getting in the way when we were trying to take pictures. This is when I learned you can remove people from pictures! | The view at the end was breathtaking. Dawn pointed out that the last time she was here, these serious looking waterfalls were little more than a trickle. Above, that's Kat standing below the falls.
35: These falls were really amazing. It is so unusual to see this much water in the area.
36: Tyler took the photos on these two pages with his new camera. It was interesting the different vantage points he chose. They added some interesting perspectives.
38: These pictures were taken on the way back down the trail. Below, looking down into Glenwood Canyon. Facing page looks down on the trail.
45: Colorado River
47: After our hike, we headed to No Name where we set up camp. Mitch and Dawn got the fire going. Me and Tyler drove into Glenwood Springs for supplies.. I lost my keys at the Walmart, and after freaking everybody out, later located them in the parking lot laying near where we got out of the car. We drove back to camp and Mitch and Dawn finished cooking dinner.
49: We ate and sat around awhile, then went out for yet another walk, this time just along the river, which ran right alongside of our campsite.
52: There's a certain sense of magic along the river in this area that I've noticed every time I've been here, yet each time is always different.
55: After our walk, we went back to the campground and sat around the fire. We'd gotten this stuff to throw in the fire that makes it dance and spit in all sorts of cool colors. | It was very nearly a perfect day. We were all psyched for our rafting trip in the morning. with all the run-off, the river is running high.
56: We were disappointed to discover that a sectiion | of the river was closed to rafting because it was considered too risky. It was ok though. It was the first time for both Mitch & Tyler | so maybe it was for the best. I wasn't planning to use a wetsuit, but got talked into it. I was very | glad I did. The water temperature was 40 degrees and it started raining almost as soon as we got on the water. It was chilly even with the wetsuits! We all had a great time. | RAFTING
58: Larkspur, Colorado
59: The following Saturday, we went to the Renaissance Festival. It was another perfect day, as it had been all week. This is the only time and place that I have Pina Coladas for breakfast. It was going to be a wonderful day!
60: Left was a booth with birds of prey who had been rescued and for one reason or another could not be released back into the wild. | Above: This was taken while waiting for the Puk.e and Snot show to begin | Above: Kat checks out a didgeridoo. Right: Mitch and Tyler join in. Fun to watch. | Below: Mitch and Tyler shop for a beverage container.
61: What's not to love about the Renaissance Festival. I can enjoy all of my favorite things: walking and being outdoors, shopping, margaritas and pina coladas, history, dashing men in tights, rides, humor, relaxing and just having fun; but especially being able to share it with the people I love. | Shopping | Archery | Relaxation | Kat seems to have an admirer.
62: The King's Joust
65: We went to all of the jousting events today. We had a great time cheering for "our champion," the cute knight on the white horse who ultimately won the competition. Of course, it is probably all planned in advance, but it's still lots of fun and you don't think about that at the time.
67: Who doesn't love a parade? Of course, the parades at the Renaissance festival are a bit unique. There is the Royal Court and the knights; there are fairies and dragons, belly dancers, bagpipers, animals and various entertainers and hot men in tights. In this parade there was one who stood above the rest! Not sure how historically accurate pirates were to the times, but who cares? Anyone who looks this good fits in. Captain Jack look alikes seem to be the thing these days. Works for me!
68: The King's Swing
69: The King's Swing is one of my favorite attractions at the Renaissance Festival. Something I hadn't considered this time was that I was wearing leggings that were very slippery on the seat. | As the swing was cranked back, I suddenly realized I was sliding forward. At first I reached back and was holding on to the back of the swing with one hand, but was still sliding. | I finally reached back with the other hand and was hanging on for all I was worth. After reaching peak height, the incline began to decrease and it wasn't so bad, but was pretty scary there for a few seconds.
70: Waiting for the show to start
72: It was the part of the show where "Puke" picks someone from the audience and presents a rose. In this show, I was the one chosen. | Dawn managed to get some pictures, although she was sitting too close to get some of the better shots. It was pretty cool.....another touch of magic that typically characterizes the Renaissance Festival.
73: A Little Bit
74: And we definitely had a lot of fun!
75: Finally, it was time to call it a day; and what a day it was....a day filled with laughter, sunshine and rollicking fun. These are the times we live for. The only thing that would've made it better would have been having Ron here to share it.
76: Of course, no Colorado vacation would be complete without spending time with the grandkitties. Above: Darth basic; Darth decorated and Darth helping me pack..or unpack. Below: Mackie at the table and Mackie enjoying the new kitty bed. There was some discussion over which kitty the bed was for.
77: Darth thinks the bed is his. Mackie says, "watch this." | Moving in under the guise of cuddling. | Making more space for himself... | "The bed is now MINE! Was that slick or what?"
78: Lowell Joins the Family
79: "I can teach this one to play on command." | "This one can be taught to provide food whenever I want it." | "This one will be good for extra petting." | "Training humans is tiring work!" | "And Grandma will be good for bringing me new toys and goodies."
81: When it was time to go home, the weather just wasn't cooperating. I had to turn back once and stay another night because of the tornadoes. | When I finally did get on the road, I was trying to beat the weather nearly all the way home. The next few pages of photos were taken driving through Kansas.
84: The pictures don't begin to do justice to how ominous the sky was that night!
88: I think this was one of the most amazing things I ever saw. It was very dark out, but to my right I saw in the darkness what appeared to be a rainbow. I thought, "no way!" It was much too dark to photograph. Then, as the darkness began to lift somewhat, I saw that it was definitely a rainbow. I was mesmerized by it. I never saw a rainbow in the dark before.
89: It was certainly a relief to come out on the other side of the storm front. It was a pretty scary drive all the way to Missouri.