Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Autumn in the Rockies, PART TWO!

Finally!! I can post SOME of the pictures that Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Charlene took when they visited us in September! This entry will be similar to the first one I wrote about their trip, but Nikki didn't take these photos, and I wanted to show off what the ladies considered really interesting/pretty. Hopefully this'll satisfy your hunger for an entry until we can get the rest of them sorted out and edited. :) NOTE!!! I have NO IDEA who took what pictures. I think most of them are Grandma's, but it's hard to say. Just enjoy them and don't worry about it. ;)

The day started off wonderfully with a beautiful sunrise over the trees by the ladies' hotel room. Obviously, Nikki and I were asleep, but because Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Charlene were two hours ahead of us mentally (time zone stuff), they were up bright and early.

The rest of the day was cloudy/hazy and chillier the higher up we went into the mountains. Good thing Nikki told everyone to bring some warm clothes for when we visit the Rockies!

Do you remember this little park in Lyons? What a nice place to have a picnic...maybe with some barbecue...and french fries...mmmmmm....

Nikki, probably tweeting or Facebooking or some other social media thing the kids are into these days.


This is TOTALLY my new user picture. Isn't it a great picture of me?!

Everyone - but especially Grandma - was in total awe of how big and beautiful and dramatic the mountains are. You can see them from almost any place in Denver and the surrounding area, and the closer you get, the bigger they are, and the smaller you feel. This view is from Estes Park. (I'm pretty sure.) You should click on it to see a larger size; it's a pretty cool picture.

Mom was a lot gutsier than I was when it came to getting close to the Elk at Lake Estes. Call me crazy, but I just don't trust an animal that carries weapons on its head!

Some more views of Lake Estes. Pretty sure these two were taken by Grandma.

Can you find Mom in this picture? ;)

Mom and Aunt Charlene in RMNP. (Go Ravens! Beat the Steelers!)

Nikki wanted to crop Mom's hand out of this picture, but I told her not to because it kinda looks cool this way! I think it reflects the casual nature of our trip and also that it was still warm enough to have the windows down at this point!

I was having an AWESOME time "surfing" the dashboard until Nikki got all "mom" on me and made me sit with Mom. "It's not safe up there! What if I have a sharp turn, and you fly out the open window and fall down a cliff or get hit by another car?!" I mean...she had a point, but what a total kill joy!

These next four pictures are from when we were up at the tundra, where it was TOTALLY cold and really sparse as far as plants and animals were concerned. The air was thin and cold, so I don't blame things for not wanting to live up there!

Grandma and I in a super cute family photo

So this is a glacier, or I guess, USED to be a glacier. I mean, it's still there, but MUCH smaller than it used to be. Global warming sucks! It takes away all the cool stuff like glaciers and polar bears. I bet it used to be AWESOME to walk around up there when it was almost all snow. Now people are probably like, "*yawn* More rocks. Yay. Oh, look. Snow. Hrmm." :(

The ladies wanted to know why there were tall branches sticking out of the ground on either side of the road for miles and miles. Nikki told them that they were used to let snow plow operators know where the road was so they wouldn't plow the wrong area. Everyone was so surprised that the sticks would have to be that tall, but Nikki said that the Rockies get a TON of snow dumped on them in the wintertime. (See below)

From the source article: "A snowplow faces 23 feet of snow on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado on May 13 [2011]." (emphasis mine) (National Park Service via AP) They probably couldn't even see the sticks at that point!!

The Alpine Visitor Center also needs to have sticks tell people where it is when it snows a lot! (Nikki said the logs on the roof are built that way so it doesn't cave the roof in, but I can't find out WHY that keeps the snow from caving in the roof, so who knows if she's right or not.)

View of Eagle River from the back "porch" of the Alpine Visitor Center

Now, I KNOW that Grandma took this picture because she showed it to me right after she took it. She thought it was so neat how the sign was captured in the photo as we zipped along the highway down the mountains.

We drove down I-70 on the way back to the hotel and passed Sports Authority (formerly Invesco) Field at Mile High, which really, everyone just calls Mile High Stadium. As you probably know, this is the new home of my dreamy Peyton Manning, who is steadily leading the Broncos to victory.

So that was Day One with the family. The next day they abandoned Nikki to a life of office drudgery [Nikki Note: *SIGH*] and drove down to Garden of the Gods to check out some of the coolest natural architecture I've ever seen in my short armadillo life.

[Nikki Note: Looking through the many, many, MANY pictures my family members took, I noticed that they weren't sorted chronologically; they were sorted by photographer and THEN chronologically. So all of the above photos were taken by Grandma, and there are STILL MORE pictures from Day One that I have to look for, file, and edit. Before we get to Garden of the Gods, I'll have Claire write another post about our first day, if there are any photos that warrant posting. We might just throw the pictures up here for you to enjoy.]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nikki Post: I'm SO SORRY (and not dead)

Hi all,

I'm so sorry for not posting in a super-long time. My life has been consumed by many other things. I'm in a play (my first in Denver AND my first for which I'm getting PAID!), so there were rehearsals and a tumultuous tech week, and I was in every single opening weekend show. (We have alternate actors who switch off for different performances. I'm only going to be a minor character in the pre-show this upcoming weekend.) I've been volunteering and having some work stress and some life stress. All of this means that I haven't traveled anywhere, with Claire or otherwise. I have a few hundred pictures from when my mom, aunt, and grandma came into town at the end of September I need to edit and post. Having that many photos to go through is a daunting task, and having not gone with them on their adventures means I don't know a lot about what they did or what they saw. Luckily, my grandma has been really good about posting her pictures to Facebook, often with captions explaining what everything is, so I should be able to get some information from there. I just haven't had the time to sit down and force myself to do it.

Posting at least the photos from their trip to Garden of the Gods is one of my goals for this week.

Please know that I haven't lost interest in this blog at all and that I'll be bringing my laptop with me when I'm home for Christmas so that when insomnia strikes, I can upload pictures and stories of our adventures back in Baltimore. I'm really looking forward to going home this year, as I've been homesick for my nieces and nephews, and because I get to have a party with my bridesmaids AND look for potential wedding locations for next year! Lots to do, and hopefully I'll get to make some time to keep you all up-to-date about our holiday adventures. :)

Thanks for reading,