Today, after a few days chillin’ in Denver proper, me, my kids and my nieces took off for an overnight at Rocky Mountain National Park. We got a last minute cabin at The YMCA at the Rockies, and I was SO EXCITED.
I was looking forward to a wonderful time of bonding for the cousins and me… some time in the world famous craft room.
The park was stunning with soaring elevations. My kids and I struggled with it, with symptoms of sore muscles, dizziness, queasiness.
We climbed up an area called uval fan, a waterfall created by an avalanche. The kids (meaning all of them) climbed to soaring heights, crossed the waterfall twice, and showed great strides in teamwork. My niece Peyton is such a self confident leader who has been a camp counselor, so she was a huge help. We only soaked one shoe, two butts and lost a water bottle down the waterfall. I have to say I was happy to be back down in low ground.
After, we were low of water and needed to refill. We either had to head the way we came in, stopping at the same visitor center or drive up a scenic route to a new visitor center... which didn’t seem far away...
Holy hell…. why I haven’t learned, that what looks like a short distance on a National Parks map, often isn’t. The Old Fall River Road only open for 2 months a year, was a harrowing drive. “A drive like the olden days”.... it had no walls or barriers... just a straight drop down! It was crap your pants scary. I believe Peyton snapped a picture of my face driving up it.
I’m pretty sure I aged 10 years. My mom would have died going up….at least 5 panic attacks in the way up…and hiding in the car floor.. bad. I seriously was thinking, “only a bad parent would take this risk.” Granted, there were cars behind me and in front of me, packed with families… so I wasn’t the only nut job.
I’m talking a switchback dirt road, that climbed to 12,454 ft elevation… no walls or guide rails, just cliff drops and BEAUTIFUL VIEWS…. if I could look without getting queasy.
½ up, I noticed a building at the tippy top, and it turned out to be the visitor center I thought was, “just a short drive away”. Up, Up, Up we went...and snapped pictures along the way..
We stopped at the Alpine visitor center for a picnic…. burrrrah…. and a hike to the top.
Peyton, MD, Claire and Bess all attempted it. Bess came down ½ was because she wasn’t feeling right. Elevation sickness. MD and the rest made it.
Surprisingly enough, the ride down, on a PAVED road, was easy and quick!
Talk about a geography lesson…. beautiful Aspen trees, then pines, then rocks and patches of grass and tundra flowers… each layer of the forest for us to experience!
On our way tback the YMCA of the Rockies!!!