After about 40 minutes of utter panic at the lines for baggage check and security, we boarded a nice early flight to Denver. We flew Southwest, and, holy moly! I guess that's what families fly. So many kids.
(And remember, I'm a teacher. I like kids. But holy crap.)
Upon landing, we were bewildered to find flat.flat.flat land. Aren't we in the Rockies?!
Turns out, the Rockies are to the west. To the east? Plains. Bizarro.
Anyways, we did lots of fun things in Colorado. We drove through Rocky Mountain National Park and saw some beautiful mountains.
I was nearly accosted by a chipmunk,
Which, as it turns out, was the least exciting of our animal sightings. Throughout the trip we saw hoary marmots, a moose, an elk, and Dan saw a prairie dog. He was thrilled.
We also went rock climbing and whitewater rafting (sorry, no photos--we were too busy pretending to be extreme). The rafting was super awesome, we did an intermediate route (Level 3-4, for anyone who knows what that means) but we all agreed that we would have done something more challenging and exciting. Apparently the best rafting is in late May/early June, so I'm scheming to dash out to Denver for some rafting as soon as school lets out.
Or something like that.
We also did one hike in Rocky Mountain National Park. Because we were already struggling with the change in altitude, we decided to tackle a fairly short, easy hike (especially in comparison to last year's Half Dome Hike in Yosemite). We did an in-and-back to Jewel Lake.
The first "lookout."
Other Traveling Buddy, pointing the way.
I mean, seriously.
It wasn't hard to enjoy.
Garden of the Gods, in Colorado Springs, was astonishingly breathtaking. We'd already seen lots of cool rocks, and I wasn't expecting to be wowed, but it was pretty awesome. Just, you know, enormous slabs of rock, sticking straight up into the air.
Oh yeah, and they're red.
Of course, we also did our fair share of brewery hunting and beer tasting. The boys weren't thrilled with the selection (apparently the huge influx of microbreweries in Colorado leads to a lower quality standard?) but I thought it was fun.
Denver also has this really cool little pocket called LoDo (Lower Downtown) that's basically several blocks of shops, restaurants, etc. We found a fantastic Mexican restaurant, where Liz went into spasms about the tacos and I tried mole for the first time. Yum. Times infinity.
After five days in Colorado, we were psyched to head to San Diego for the remaining three!