S: Our Family Vacation to Colorado 2009
BC: The End
FC: Colorado | Family Vacation 2009
1: Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories. CathyAllen
2: On our family vacation to Colorado, Cameron and Kaden were 7 years old and Cole was almost 2. This album details our 2009 mountain adventures!
4: Garden of the Gods
5: We spent 8 days in Colorado during the end of June and beginning of July. We started our trip in Colorado Springs, toured Denver for a few days, then moved up to the Estes Park area. We did tons of exciting things. We visited the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Cave of the Winds, and the Dinosaur Resource Center. We visited Dinosaur Ridge where we all got to touch dinosaur bones still embedded in the rock and put our feet inside real fossilized dinosaur tracks. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science was worthy of a whole day of exploration.!We also visited the Garden of the Gods, rode the Cog railway, shopped in Estes Park, spent a day in Rocky Mountain National Park, and of course enjoyed the swimming pools in our hotels.!We spent the last day of our vacation, the 4th of July, in Estes Park and returned home the following day. It was a great vacation spent exploring some of the natural wonders of Colorado.
6: Some of our first views of the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs.
7: Our first day exploring was spent at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Shrine of the Sun.
9: The Cheyenne Mountain zoo is built 6,800 feet up on the side of Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs. It's attractions include close encounter exhibits with animals such as mountain lions, grizzly bears, wolves, and moose. We especially loved being able to hand feed and pet the giraffes! Included in the zoo is admission to the Shrine of the Sun, a shrine to famed humorist Will Rogers at 8.136 feet!
10: The most beautiful moment at the Shrine of the Sun...
11: After our morning at the zoo, we went to the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in nearby Woodland Park. We got to see a huge collection of fossilized prehistoric critters and a real working fossil laboratory. Cameron and Kaden learned a lot about where certain bones are in the body!
12: Our exploration of the Colorado Springs area HAD to include an adventure on Pike's Peak. We took the Cog Railway up to the summit at a mere 14,110 feet! | We left the Cog Railway depot at 6.571 feet and ascended 8.9 miles up the mountain on a Swiss train. The journey lasted just over 3 hours. We even had high-altitude donuts at the top!
13: Our Family at the Summit of Pike's Peak 14,110 feet in the clouds. Mom was terribly altitude sick and Kaden didn't feel wonderful either. We spent about 30 minutes at the summit before our train blew the horn telling us to board. We were told by other train passengers that it was snowing just moments before we arrived.
14: We spent a morning spelunking in the Cave of the Winds. The caves proved to be Cameron and Kaden's favorite stop! We spent about 1 hour exploring the caves which were discovered over 100 years ago. We loved learning about stalactites called 'cave bacon' and we experienced TRUE darkness!
15: Cole did remarkably well in the caves. Daddy carried him the whole way. He was thrilled while we were moving but didn't care much for the educational aspects of the tour. He was silent during the darkness! | Needless to say, Daddy was very exhausted by his efforts to tote Cole the toddler tank up numerous stairs, down narrow passages, and through areas no taller than 4 feet.
16: We found this sign to be quite comical since it prefaces the photo to the right. Just below the side rail is the Big Thompson River. We were thinking that if our lives depended on us climbing to safety in a flood... we'd have to pray for a great Ark to save us! Later on in Estes Park, we saw the "Estes Ark!"
17: Estes Park, CO
18: Kaden & Cole caught rainbow trout while Cameron caught a brown trout! | I caught my first fish!!
19: Trout Haven Fishing Pond Estes Park, CO
20: Some of the wildlife we spotted while on vacation . . .
21: Can't get enough of the view . . .
22: Rocky Mountain National Park
23: Oh beautiful for spacious skies...
24: Chasm Falls | Rocky Mountain National Park
25: Are we having fun yet?
26: We drove up Old Fall River road through Rocky Mountain National Park, a one way dirt road full of switchbacks and steep drop offs without guardrails. It was 44 degrees at the summit! Despite the intermittent storms, the view was breathtaking.
28: Snow in July!
29: Alpine Visitor Center 11,796 ft.
31: The scenery in Rocky Mountain National Park on the 4th of July was worthy of spending an entire day drinking it in despite rainy weather. We saw scores of elk and never had a hard time spotting a marmot. We hoped to see a moose, mountain lion, or bear but had no luck. After our day in the park we returned to Estes Park at which time the rain finally stopped and the sun came out casting the most beautiful mountain rainbow.
32: All things grow better with love. | The conclusion of the 4th of July and ultimately our vacation was spent taking a walk at dusk around Lake Estes where we saw many elk on the golf course. It was cold enough you could see your breath so we snuggled into the suburban for the fireworks which put Cole to sleep!