Hiking up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday, Eliza and I stopped long enough to put our handprints in the snow for posterity! It was a beautiful day and we were supposed to be studying, but when Dan and I woke up to sunshine, we knew we had to get the kids up quickly and drive the hour to our beloved Rocky mountains. The road isn’t open all the way over until this Friday or Saturday, but we drove as far as we could, then parked and hiked up to almost 12,000 feet. It was so hard to breathe! I don’t remember having problems with the altitude 14 years ago, so we’re blaming it on age. The kids were fine. We were all a little cold when the road was exposed, but when there was snow 11′ deep on the south side, we were protected from the wind and it was actually too hot.
This view was well worth the hike! We didn’t stay long, however, because it was COLD. Eliza and I needed hats, Nate needed gloves, and you would think Dan would need pants, but he was fine. There were other crazy men hiking in shorts, too. There were only 7 of us up here, but as we hiked down, more people were hiking up. They probably slept in.
We took a different way going back to the campground, kind of a back road out of Estes Park, through another canyon that flooded in 2013. This stretch of road is actually good compared to most of it. The flood washed away the road for miles, along with houses and businesses. Only 9 people died this time because they had learned a huge, horrible lesson from the 1976 floods that claimed 114 lives. Around this bend was a very old fireplace, sitting without a house, and we just couldn’t stop talking about what it would be like to live in this beautiful, remote canyon, and be at Mother Nature’s mercy. Could we trade the peace and beauty for a road to bike on, groceries and wifi? Probably not. Our little car was covered with muck by the time we were done and Nate and I were so proud – off roading with a Fiesta, hilarious. It was a long day exploring, but we’re so glad we woke the kids up early and headed out!