S: Durango, CO - July 2011
BC: WE WANDER FOR DISTRACTION, BUT WE TRAVEL FOR FULFILLMENT. | HILAIRE BELLOC
FC: Colorado Road Trip July 2011
1: Our first family road trip. We had no idea what we were in for, but we were excited to find out! Our plan was to visit the Willis Family in Durango, Colorado for a few days. The trip itself was a 919-mile drive through Amarillo, Santa Fe and Taos before we arrived in Durango. There were times when we asked ourselves, "What were we thinking??", but in the end it was all worth it. | There were so many firsts for the kids on this trip. Not only was it the first road trip we'd taken as a family, but it was also the kids' first time staying in a hotel (one of the highlights for them!). They had their first train ride, and they saw the mountains up close for the first time...what a fantastic sight! After all the fun we had on this trip, I know it will not be our last.
2: CADILLAC RANCH
3: LIFE IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION. | RALPH WALDO EMERSON | As we were leaving Amarillo on the second day of our drive, we were running behind schedule. We realized we would have to make a U-turn to get to Cadillac Ranch, and Derek didn't want to take the time. However, I insisted. It turned out to be fun for all of us - especially the boys! Cole and Derek did the most painting. Caroline did some too, but she also started the rock collection in her pocket that grew at every stop from there to Santa Fe.
4: We were in Santa Fe for just one night, but we made the most of it! We had dinner at Cowgirl Barbecue, then walked around the Plaza. We even took a bicycle tour to see the historic buildings.
5: THAT WAY | GO THIS WAY | SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO
6: RIO GRANDE GORGE | Just outside of Taos, we crossed the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. In the middle of this flat land was a HUGE drop - amazing!
7: Looking at the Gorge was a bit terrifying...cars were whizzing by behind us, and the only thing between us and the river below was a small bar fence. I was nervous, but the kids loved it!
8: After 2 1/2 days of driving, we finally started seeing mountains! As we drove through Carson National Forest, we kept pulling over to take pictures - it was so beautiful!
9: CARSON NATIONAL FOREST
10: DURANGO FISH HATCHERY | Our first day in Durango we took the kids to the Fish Hatchery, where they were able to see and feed fish at all stages of life. Caroline immediately took to Kayla, and Cole and Carver became fast friends.
13: MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK | We spent an entire day at Mesa Verde National Park, where we toured ancient cliff dwellings. Cole even earned his Junior Ranger badge!
14: The Willis family was so kind to let us stay with them in their home. We enjoyed the views, and - of course - the company. One of my favorite memories is roasting marshmallows in their fire pit and having s'mores together.
16: Hike to Spud Lake
17: Mountains, beaver lodges, aspen trees, a lake and good friends...the perfect day!
18: DURANGO-SILVERTON RAILWAY | The long-awaited day was here - the train trip from Durango to Silverton! The train is pulled by an old steam engine powered by coal, and it took us along the Animas river through the San Juan mountains.
21: When we stepped off the train in Silverton, we met up with the Willises for lunch. Then we all headed up north to an abandoned mine to go rock hunting. Brett, Kayla, Derek and Cole climbed up while Gretchen, Caroline and I found rocks at the bottom.
22: On the way home we made a stop at Echo Canyon in New Mexico. It gave the kids a chance to yell as loudly as they could, and they had fun hearing their own echoes.
23: "HELLOOOOO!" | ECHO CANYON