Friday, July 25, 2014

Rainier Cherries and Snowy Peaks

Hello, hello!  We got back late Wednesday night from a wonderful trip to Washington State! Remember Bryce's summit attempt of Mt. Rainier last summer?  Last week he and Jack made attempt #2 and we decided to join them in their adventure and explore some of the beautiful state of Washington.   The evening before we left, we celebrated our upcoming adventure with Meringue Snow Peaks and Rainier Cherries.

Did you know that Rainer cherries are actually named after Mt. Rainier? They are a very finicky cherry to grow and a 1/3 of the crop is eaten by birds!  That accounts for their rather high price tag and small window of availability.

I have approximately one million and two photos to go through and post!  Next week, you might be overwhelmed with travel photos!  I'll offer my apologies now.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Colorado, Part 4

Hello there! It's Grace for my last post on my Colorado adventures! On Wednesday, we drove to the station from which the Royal Gorge Route train would depart. We boarded the train and Grandpa got us seats in the Vista dome. It was nice- cushy, velvet seats, food and drink service, big curved windows! The train didn't go really fast, but it was a nice pace and fast enough not to be boring. I ordered a root beer, and Grandpa and I shared chicken nachos. They were super good! Along the way, we passed under the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge. My favorite thing was the old pipeline that ran along the other side of the river. I absolutely love old, abandoned, broken down, and forgotten things; so this was right up my ally! I got a lot of pictures. We also passed some old shacks.

The pipeline.

A metal cage the pipeline ran through over the water.

My favorite picture. The waterline tunneled through the rock! I don't know why, but seeing this forgotten, lost pipeline made me really excited and you can ask my Grandparents; I wouldn't stop talking about it!

I got some yummy Lava Cake for dessert.

The next day, we woke up early and went to Academy Riding Stables near Garden of the Gods. We put on our helmets and jumped into the western saddle!  I've only ever ridden English before but I've always wanted to ride western. I rode a beautiful roan, Comet. She was a great horse and besides riding close and sniffing around Jester's (Gran's horse) rump half the time, she was awesome! We did some "rock climbing" with the horses, which I must admit they did quite well on. There were a couple of slips and one lady lost her glasses, but it was otherwise smooth. Our guide was also nice. At the end, we returned the horses to the stable and went home. That night, we had some homemade cherry pie and ice cream. It was to die for. Gran always makes the best!

And now, I have to wrap it all up in an awesome Colorado flavored burrito. I had the most amazing time in colorful CO and getting to spend that much time there was truly a blessing. I have to thank Gran and Grandpa endlessly for being the greatest Colorado grandparents in the world! You guys are awesome, and I'm so glad that you got to share your state with me! I also have to thank my family for letting their daughter get on a plane by herself, for 3 hours, and leave them alone for two whole weeks! Colorado is an amazing state, and I was sad to leave it behind, but hopefully I will be back at its doorstep in no time at all!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Colorado Part 3

Hello! Grace here for another recap of my glorious week in Colorado. So, after our camping adventure, we headed to the old mining town of Victor. We had a great old-fashioned lunch at the Fortune Club, (malts and burgers!) and then proceeded to explore the town and the old and abandoned mining places around it. We went into a shop where they handmade brooms and did tinwork. Grandpa got me a beautiful small tin cup and also an old (antique?) and discontinued Monopoly game piece. It is an overflowing sack of cash. We then went to an in-use quarry. It was huge! There was an approaching storm and some thunder, and the people who were working on the road came up to tell us to get off the hill since there was lightning danger. And, while I'm on the subject of mines, we hiked around in Open Spaces and I climbed a lot too!

After looking at broken-down shacks and decomposing fences around the old mines, we drove to Cripple Creek. We went to the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine. You put your hard hats on and got into a little tiny cage and they put you down a dark mine shaft going down to 1,000 ft. Going down a mine shaft in a tiny cage is like an elevator, so it wasn't really my cup of tea, but none-the-less it was an experience. The mines were really cool, and we learned about the tools they used back then and the tools they use now. We even saw a real vein of gold!

Our next stop was the Wolf Center. I love wolves and seeing them in person was really awesome! I was shocked to see that wolves are becoming endangered and that so many people had rights to trap and kill them. As we were driving, we drove right into a big storm. Grandpa got the ponchos out of the back of the truck and we drove on. We got into the visitor center there and it was pouring down rain. Lightning and thunder were going crazy. But, thankfully, it stopped, and we could go on with the tour.

 These wolves are so beautiful. Their fur and their eyes...

This one chowing down on the meat and looking majestic in the picture below, is Micah. He was my favorite. He was beautiful and had endless energy!

This black wolf is the grandson of the wolf used in the making of the Twilight movies. I think they used him in the movies and also as a model for the CGI.

Last but not least, the Artic wolf. He was stunning and very, very hungry! At the end of the tour, our guide led us in a wolf howl. The wolves howled back! It went on for a long time and sounded amazing. It was a great experience!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Colorado, Part 2

It's Grace again for another post on my Colorado adventure! After I got home from camp on Saturday, we decided to take the Airstream out for a little trip. We loaded up the ATV, packed the Airstream, and were off! It was a long drive; about 4 hours. We stopped for lunch on the Cache La Poudre River and even saw some rafters going by.

When we continued our journey, the river ran alongside us for most of the way there. The views and the nature outside my window were amazing. Spring green hills, clear streams, majestic and snowy mountains in the distance.
The Cache La Poudre River

As we got farther and farther into the mountains, I began to see.......snow!! Small patches on the ground here and there. We stopped on the side of the road and I picked up a handful of my favorite season!

Our elevation was increasing rapidly, and we were getting closer and closer to our destination.

When we got to the Visitor Center, I was surprised to see a whole moose made out of barbed wire! I love moose. I also was overjoyed that we were in the moose capitol of Colorado!

After we spent one night at our campsite, the next morning we went to Cowboy Church. It was a great sermon, and we got to see all of the horses being corralled for the rodeo later that day. We went to the parade afterwards, went back to the camper for lunch and then we headed back to the town of Walden to watch the rodeo.

  This was the area for the Never Summer Rodeo!

 We watched bull and bronco riding.

 This was the best picture I took that day, and one of the best throughout the entire trip!

They had to make extremely tight turns around the barrels. Barrel Racing was my favorite event!

Coming back from Walden we saw this. Cows grazing on green grass with an endless sky stretching for miles dotted with tufts of white. Perfection. But wait, what's this? Llamas?! No, alpacas! 

We had a roaring fire and I ate more s'mores than were good for me! It was also really nice to wear my new Eagle Lake sweatshirt and my North Face hat everywhere!


Then Grandpa and I went out for a little ride in the RZR, just a taste of the big stuff; that was tomorrow!

The next morning, we had pancakes and bacon; my favorite!

 We saw these little fellows all the time, and we could definitely hear them as well!

This one is also one of my favorite pictures.

We went RZRing for a long time. It ended up with me driving! ( I must say, I parked it beside the truck with some pro accuracy.) We left that day, and going home we passed through the Continental Divide  and some really heavy storms.  



I was so happy that I got to witness some real Colorado weather; it changes in a heartbeat! The camping trip was my favorite part of staying with my awesome Grandparents, and I can't wait to share more of my adventuring!


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