Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Rocky Mountain National Park - Day 1

[Composed 7/23/2023]

This photo, right here, is one of my favorite pics from our Rocky Mountain National Park adventure:

I know what you're thinking: really? A cheesy jet bridge pic? That's your highlight? Yes, 100%.

To appreciate this moment, you need to realize that it was 364 days in the making. Nearly 1 year ago to the day, we *tried* to all go to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), but a last minute case of Covid derailed the trip. So, to walk down the jetbridge, the five us, was victory! Sure, at this moment our plans could have easily gone awry; but at least we would have been on an adventure together!

The flight to Denver and car pickup was uneventful. We were then lucky enough to grab lunch with my cousin Lindsay (sorry Doug!) and her kids. After a delicious meal and time catching up, it was time to make our way to Estes Park, stock up on food and supplies and finally land at our Airbnb.

Last year, when we drove from Denver to Estes Park I remember the scene being just perfect, with big puffy clouds in a blue sky and tempting mountains in the distance. I figured there was no way this scene was going to repeat itself, but it did. B, P, and M were all treated to a perfect Colorado afternoon. I can see why people want to live out here, it's just gorgeous.

Our Airbnb appeared to be a winner, with plenty of space for everyone. The decour, especially in the kitchen, feels like 1970's chic. But, everything is in great condition and the kitchen is fully stocked with supplies and food.

While the kids did what sane people do, and relaxed, I did what I like to do and dragged Shira out for a hike. Yes, we'd been traveling since 5am, and yes the elevation here is challenging on your first day. But who can resist the call of the mountains? A short distance from our Airbnb was a random trail that looked like the perfect place to stretch our legs. We'd found Thumb Open Space, which had opened in July 2022, and included a trail with stunning views of the area. It's a testament to how flush this area is with amazing trails that you can have such a high quality trail that's on nobody's radar. The only tricky part about the trail at Thumb Open Space is that it's all uphill. Shira was not amused.

After the hike, we made our way back to our Aibnb for dinner. Everyone was wiped from a fully day of travel, but we were all excited to finally be on our adventure. It had taken an extra year, but it was totally worth it. Our plan is to hit up Trail Ridge Road tomorrow and see if RMNP lived up to the hype!

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