Tuesday, September 2, 2014

To the Mountains We Go!

"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean."  John Muir

I love this quote by John Muir, because isn't that exactly what it feels like when you go to the mountains?  Washing your spirit clean?  Purging your life, if only temporarily, of all the hullabaloo of everyday life?  

We just spent 10 days in the glorious and majestic Rocky Mountains.  For the record, I would like to mention that camping for 9 nights with a teething baby isn't necessarily the best idea we've ever had, but it was a much needed vacation nonetheless.  10 days without internet and cell phone signal (except for the few minutes we spent in Estes Park each day).  10 days without depressing news feeds and hectic work emails.  10 days where the only thing we worried about was keeping the kids safe from bears, cooking and washing the dishes, drinking in the beautiful views, and sleeping under the stars every night.

We happened to see lots of wildlife.  Our campsite had a bear that was practically a resident.  We didn't have any run-ins with the bear, although one day while we were gone we left our clean dishes out to dry and apparently he paid us a visit.

We saw lots and lots of elk.  I don't know if that's normal or if it's because it's getting close to their mating season.

We also saw several bighorn sheep grazing above treeline on the mountainside.

One day we drove up to the top of Mount Evans and on the way we saw some mountain goats.  They looked friendly and cute.  I guess in my mind I thought of them as sweet stuffed animals, but the truth is that they are wild animals.  But really, they are so cute.

My oldest ceases to amaze me.  For a 4-year old that hates bugs and dirty feet, he sure does love to go camping!  In fact as we were packing up the tent to leave he asked, "So when are we going camping again?"

I also wouldn't describe my son as being fearless.  He's quite the opposite.  He's terrified of beetles.  Terrified of being left behind.  When we go to birthday parties he likes to cling to my side.  But even the mountains had the ability to draw out the fearless adventurer in my son.

The entire time we were there he took the title of "King of the Boulder."  Every big rock we saw he stopped to ask, "Daddy, can I climb this one?"

We had several days of really lovely weather and were able to go hiking.  We hiked around Sprague Lake and Bear Lake, checked out some waterfalls and had a really beautiful picnic next to a rushing stream one day.  Had we known the very windy, cold, blustery weather that would strike the last 3 days we were there, we probably would have taken greater advantage of the nice days.

And sadly it turned very blustery the last few days.  I spent one day practically hiding out in the tent, which worked in my favor because my husband hid out in the hammock with the boys and I got to take an extended nap - which always improves moods.

The second day of cold, windy weather we ventured out.  While the mountains are beautiful in the summer, there's a special thing that happens when they're covered in rain and clouds.  Maybe it's the crocheter/wannabe knitter inside of me, but seeing the mountains covered in clouds made me want to build a log cabin on the spot and sit in front of a fire with a rocking chair and some wool.  It was almost like a fairytale; the clouds were so close you could reach out and touch them.  

As with all good things, vacation had to come to an end.  I was ready for the comfort of my bed and home.  14 hours in the car with two children later, we made it.  Back to 100 degree weather and sweltering heat.  Back to emails, phone calls, business ventures, and laundry piles.  Back to life.

I think we're ready to go back to the mountains.

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