Thank you all for your congrats on Thursday's post! We're very excited about our impending Fall addition to our family. In the mean time, we've piled our current family of 4 + Tex into the car and headed to Colorado.
Two suitcases, three backpacks, a bag of snacks, a cooler bag of fruit and lunch items, a giant hiking backpack, and an 80-lb. labrador all fit pretty well in the Highlander. Not sure how we'll get that third kid in there too, but for now s/he isn't much of a concern in the packing (except that I had to double the number of snacks so I could eat my necessary carbohydrate every 45 minutes along the way).
Like with last time, the 12.5-hour drive was long and completely uneventful. The kids were perfect and we flew through Texas, New Mexico, and the lower half of Colorado with Claire asking every 6 minutes if she could see Tia's house yet. We arrived at my sister's house in Golden about 7:30 p.m. to a very excited Tia and a very delicious dinner waiting on the stove. Bright and early Friday morning, the kids were bouncing around the house and I was headed out in search of a Target because we realized at our first gas station stop the day before that we'd left Claire's shoes in Fort Worth! It was so early in the morning when we left, I told her I'd just carry her to the car and apparently we never picked up her shoes (new shoes I'd just purchased a few days before). So now she has two new pairs of shoes in a week, but at least pair #2 was only $15 and I don't care if they get beat up on the hikes.
Once we were all properly shod, we piled back in the car, this time with Tia too, and headed up the mountains to Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove through so many picturesque mountain towns, towns that make me contemplate hanging a shingle and becoming a small town lawyer (contemplate and then reject, but still, they are awfully charming), and arrived at RMNP just in time for snow to randomly start falling from the sky. What?! It was 65 in Golden when we left and we'd diligently checked the mountain weather before we left and were promised a bright blue 50-degree day. It paused long enough to eat a picnic lunch on a rock, get a group picture, and temporarily lose JP to a sheer rock cliff.
We also had the exciting experience of holding a bare-arsed Clairebear over the snow behind a big rock so she could go potty. One of those rare moments where a two-year-old still in diapers wouldn't have been unwelcome. She was quite the outdoorswoman though and peed in the snow like a pro.
We drove around the giant National Park, never quite understanding where we were in relation to the largely useless map we got when we drove in, and finally just pulled over in another spot with a pile of rocks. (As discussed last time, there's nothing the LagLiv family loves more than a giant pile of rocks to climb all over.)
Landon is quite the expert climber these days and I have very few pictures of him because he was usually too far in front of me. Claire likes to do all the climbing by herself, except when she wants you to hold her hand, except when she wants you to "hold you." Please note the ominous looking snow clouds building behind us.
We drove a little further, finally finding our original goal of the Bear Lake Trail Head, which would take us on a moderate 4 mile round trip hike to Dream and Emerald Lakes. That was the plan anyway.
Claire wasn't impressed either. Thank goodness I had thrown the kids' gloves and a hat for Claire in the car before we left Fort Worth. Only the fact that they had been separately stuffed into the glove compartment meant that we had them available for the blizzard we were now hiking through.
Here we are in front of the shining waters of Bear Lake. I love that JP is in shorts.
And here's Landon, looking like a little Gap kids winter collection model.
That was the last time he smiled for the rest of the hike. The snow got a lot harder- like more of it and the actual snowflakes were harder. JP and Claire pressed on.
Tia and I were like whaaaaa?!
In the end we didn't even make it to Nymph Lake, a whole 0.5 miles from Bear Lake, because Landon sat down on the snow and refused to move. We made it back to the car, pelted by increasingly large snow flakes, and headed back to Golden. Halfway there I decided I desperately needed a 2:00 serving of french fries, so we stopped in the adorable town of Lyons. An adorable town with two organic markets and not one restaurant serving french fries. Clearly these are not my people. We pressed onward to Boulder, where I googled "french fries + Boulder" and pointed our GPS to Mountain Sun Brewery & Restaurant. There are no words for the deliciousness of our giant plates of nachos and cheese smothered french fries (no words; easily the best fries I've ever had in my life), the people of Lyons don't know what they're missing. That 0.3 mile hike that almost got us to Nymph Lake really revved up our appetites.
We spent the rest of the day going on local walks, playing at the park, and trying to decide what we wanted for dinner (this Greek salad with grilled chicken). The kids were tucked in their air mattress and the adults played a rousing game of Monopoly that I WON! I never win at Monopoly. All in all, a most excellent first day of vacation.