Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Rest of Colorado

I'm pretty sure the writing bug has left my system temporarily... probably until later in the fall when I feel like I have a free moment's time to do anything. It's kind of weird how things wax and wane like they do. The podcast was also going strong, but then I went on vacation and now I haven't had a chance to get another episode out simply because there's not a night where I have free time to do it, and when I do occasionally get a moment or two, I'm catching up on bills, laundry, cleaning, or whatever else needs done. I'm starting to wonder whether I need to think about cutting some commitments out of my life so I can focus on what I stick with, but I really enjoy everything that I am committed to, so I can't imagine cutting anything out. Anyhow... that vacation I was talking about... I figured I'd recap quickly since I'm getting prepared to fly to Italy on Saturday for a couple of weeks in Europe.

I never did get to blog more about Colorado while I was out there, mostly because I was trying to catch up on reading I'd had piled up and playing dominoes with the family. Writing didn't top my list of fun things to do while relaxing, I guess. Anyhow, we tried to take in the major tourist attraction type stuff since none of us had been to Colorado and we figured we should see the main sights.

The Royal Gorge was a nice area to visit for a day. Walking over the bridge, feeling it sway, and looking down was quite fun despite my fear of heights. Looking around at the gigantic valleys and scars that nature had carved out of the area was pretty intense. It's so completely different from the flatness of Minnesota. Getting to go down to the bottom of the gorge also gave you a completely different perspective on just how far down it was. As you look back up at the bridge, it's hard to reconcile the fact that this little thing is a two car wide bridge when you're on it. Learning about how it was built was also a treat!

Then, of course, there was a visit to Pike's Peak. How could we NOT go to Pike's Peak being we were staying almost right next to it. The drive up was pretty white knuckle for me, even though I was driving. The road is gravel or dirt most of the way and is consistently at a 10% or greater incline. To top it off there is usually just enough room for two lanes, tons of switchbacks, and rarely a guard rail. Looking over the edge as we drove right along it was freaky as all get out on the way up. On the way down I tolerated it a little better, but for someone who doesn't necessarily enjoy heights, this was quite the nerve wracking vacation attraction. Being up on top and looking around was really fun, even though the air was pretty thin and I was feeling light headed at times.

Where we stayed was less than a mile from the Garden of the Gods, so we visited there a couple of times. My dad and I hiked around the entire park, which was a great way to spent an afternoon. The rock formations are beautiful and jarring at the same time. They seem to just rise up out of the ground, which is kind of neat really. On our hike around the park, the map we had didn't have all the trails listed so we ended up hiking into a different part of Colorado Springs instead of coming back around to the entrace we started at. Luckily it wasn't too far from where we were staying.

We also made a day to drive through and see some of the Rocky Mountain National Forest. We entered at Estes Park. There wasn't much time to get hiking in, but I managed to do a 5K trail while the rest of the family was driving around looking at things. Saw lots of beautiful streams and rapids, along with a great view of some of the mountains.

Hmmm... what else? Oh! We went to Seven Falls as well. Gorgeous falls, but a lot of stairs to traverse to see it from the top. And when you get to the top of the falls, if you decide to go hike, one of the two trails is a constant uphill climb for about a mile and a half. Great view when you get up to the top of the trail, but sort of treacherous if you're out of shape.

Lastly, I think the only other main attraction we saw was the Denver Aquarium. It was a ton of fun and one of the best aquariums I've been to. Lots of unique fish, oodles of fun displays, and all around a good amount of information to take in and see.

So... that's pretty much the gist of the Colorado vacation I took with my family... about a month ago. And now I'm off on to another one. And I'm pretty sure I won't be able to write from over there considering how busy I'll be vacationing and, unfortunatly, working as well. It should be great, though!

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