When I think of the word “vacation” I think of sleeping in, reading a book, and relaxing. So far on this vacation I have been up even earlier than I am when I have to go to work and even more physically active than usual. It seems like vacation in our little family is less about relaxing and more about exploring and experiencing as much as possible.

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IMG_7826Yesterday morning we woke up really early (especially for a Saturday) and headed back to Rocky Mountain National Park to tackle Deer Mountain. Even though I love my sleep, mornings are my favorite part of the day. There is something mystical about the morning especially when you’re outside. The day holds such promise and watching the sun cascade across the land is beautiful.

IMG_7835 IMG_7839 IMG_7851We reached the summit of Deer Mountain around 9:30 yesterday morning. The elevation at the trailhead is already over 8,000 feet. Higher than any mountain I’ve ever climbed. At the top the elevation is over 10,000 feet. It was a perfect hike for a Saturday morning. Just challenging enough without resulting in me complaining and detesting the whole thing. The views along the way and at the peak were breathtaking. The trail was very quiet. We did not see any other hikers until we reached the top where a handful of people were already enjoying the views.

IMG_7860 IMG_7862 IMG_7864On the way down it began to rain. Thankfully we made it back to our cabin before the storms came. It stormed the rest of the afternoon which made it perfect for taking a long nap and watching a scary movie. Stephen King wrote The Shining at The Stanley Hotel right in Estes Park. He and his wife ended up staying there during a snow storm and they were the only guests on the floor. His stay at the Stanley was the inspiration for the book and the place where he stayed to write it.

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On a side note, we saw lots of elk yesterday. Elk in Estes Park are like deer in Ithaca! They seem to be everywhere. Of course they are quite the site tourists. You always know when an elk has been spotted because lots of cars are pulled over on both sides of the road and people are taking pictures. We are guilty of this. Could you imagine if people stopped to take pictures of deer every time one was spotted in Ithaca?
IMG_7887 This morning we checked out of our lovely cabin; a little piece of heaven. I did not want to leave. When I shared this with the desk staff, they tried to convince us to stay longer. I was extremely tempted as I much prefer nature to cities.

After we left Streamside, we headed to Lily Lake to take in the sights. It began to rain when we were there. Then it began to storm and hail and down pour. We ended up leaving Estes Park shortly afterwards and headed to Denver. When we stopped for lunch in Boulder, Michal and I both noticed that we could breathe better. Funny how altitude impacts your body.

IMG_7898 IMG_7904Michal and I have never been to Denver before and do not have much of an agenda while we are here. If you have suggestions of things to check out, let us know! We are staying in a cute apartment we found on airbnb and the hosts have provided us with bikes and lots of suggestion on things to do. I’ll keep you updated on what we discover about Denver!

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