Yesterday the family and I got back from our vacation in Colorado. We spent 6 full days in Colorado and four days travelling. I love going on family vacations, and not just because I have such an amazing family! It’s because our vacations consist of spending time together, laughing, playing card games and dominoes, making memories, catching fish, hiking and simply spending time as a family. Most of the trip is considered an “electronic-free-zone”, which is great because instead of having our heads buried in our phones, computers or tablets, we focus on the people around us and simply enjoy each other’s company.
I lav it.
As a recap of what we did, here are some pictures of the different places we went! We stayed mainly in the Durango-Silverton area, which is okay with me because it’s beautiful there! I have to agree with my dad- the San Juan National Forest is gorgeous.
This is the motel we stopped at last year, and I am so glad we stopped here again! The owners remembered us, not because of our beautiful faces (shocker, I know…), nor because of our witty jokes and comments (another shocker), but because of Princess Buttercup. She sure knows how to win someone’s heart! My favorite part about the motel is the fact that it reminds me of Cars, one of my favorite Pixar movies! It has old timey cars, Route 66 memorabilia and paintings and a fun flair about it that you just can’t get at any normal motel. I guess you could say I like it’s character… or maybe the two resident Golden Retrievers are what really win me over. What can I say? I love dogs! Anyways, I know I will definitely stay here again, especially since they provided all the ingredients to make s’mores over a huge grill!!
One of the fun things you get to do when you travel by car is make stops at fun places along the way. Especially if you are like my family and already add in about 2 extra hours of travel time due to an excessive amount of bathroom breaks! We stopped at Camel Rock and Echo Amphitheater, where we totally sang the Star Spangled Banner as loud as we could (and maybe a couple of songs from Frozen…). I felt like a rock star, but I think my mom was feeling more embarrassed than anything!
We also made a short detour to see some trains for Dad. I hadn’t realized before this trip how much he likes them.
This was definitely our favorite lake to go to last year, and this year it won again! I personally love it because of the be-a-uuutiful views, but it’s also a stocked lake which meant we had no problemo catching any fish. This year Dad was prepared and found the best “method” to catch rainbow trout, and that’s exactly what we did! In total, I think we caught more than 50 trout at Andrews Lake. Ridiculous, I know!
Another one of my favorite parts about the lake is watching a storm come in. If you’ve ever been up in the Colorado mountains this time of year, you can agree with me- it rains. A lot. It was so cool, because you could see the line of rain descending the mountain behind us, and we could judge just about how many minutes we had till the rain hit! Isaac and I were shocked at how quickly storms develop up there, and you’ve got to be there to believe it. Within 10 minutes it could go from sunny and warm to hailing and 20 degrees cooler. Lucky for us, we only had one bad day of rain at Andrews! And I have a sunburn to prove it.
I love shopping, especially in touristy stores. Call me crazy, but I find it kinda fun! I love choosing my Colorado t-shirt for the year, looking at the cute (and sometimes just plain weird) nick-knacks and going to fun, touristy towns. We went to Silverton last year, and I was excited that we went back again! It’s a small, sort of run down town that’s a huge tourist attraction (so right up my alley, right?). The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train ends there, and I really enjoy watching the trains come in. Someday I will ride it!
Ouray was another town very similar to Silverton. We wanted to hike up to this waterfall that is a pretty big tourist attraction, but they didn’t let dogs into the park so we couldn’t go. They also have hot springs and some neat sounding hiking trails, so I know I will go back in the future to do them! That is, if I can survive going on the Million Dollar Highway again. I feel like we almost plummeted to our deaths about 20 times on that road.
On our way back to the house, we stopped at a lookout where you could see a really cool waterfall! There was an over hanging platform with a SEE THROUGH FLOOR that Isaac made me go on. I knew for sure the floor was going to give out and I would fall into the raging rapids. However, I guess our weight didn’t exceed that of a huge semi (at least I think that’s how much weight Isaac told me the metal could hold), so I survived. Barely.
We went to Haviland after shopping in Durango (I forgot my camera’s memory card, so no pictures of Durango… booo). We weren’t big fans of the lake, mostly because of how mossy it is. Isaac reeled in moss three times, each time loosing his power bait, and decided to give up because it just wasn’t worth it. I caught one fish and Mom caught two! We left the lake running (literally) because a storm blew in and it began to hail pretty hard on us!
One morning before everyone started waking up, Isaac and I went on a hike around our house. Buttercup had a blast running up and down the road, sniffing everything and exploring. I personally liked spending time in the crisp morning air, lungs on fire, muscles twitching as we hiked uphill with Isaac. He made the trip so fun!
One of my favorite parts about this trip was the hike up to Spud Lake. It was about a mile long and pretty rocky, but I really enjoyed the challenge. Since I broke my foot, the amount of physical activity I’ve been able to do up to this point has been very minimal, so I relished the physical exertion! The hike was a mile up to the lake, and I think it was worth it! The lake was gorgeous- super clear, with lily pads and a beaver dam… ahem excuse me… a beaver darn (as my family was calling it!). I was the only one who caught a fish (and it was a good 5 maybe 6 inches long!), but I really enjoyed the beautiful weather and views. Isaac and I also went on a 45 minute or so hike up some trails. I loved walking among the aspen and hearing the wind blow the leaves!
The last day fishing was kind of sad for me. I hate it when vacation comes to an end and the reality of having to go back home to the real world hits. We had a fun day, though! It was sunny and pretty, and we caught 22 fish (that Isaac and I ended up gutting and cleaning when we got home!). After catching two fish each, Isaac and I decided to go on a hike. There’s a 3.7 mile trail up to Crater Lake that we started… and almost wanted to finish! The trail was perfect- dirt, no rocks and tree covered- and the views were breathtaking. There were also a TON of wildflowers (my favorite!), so I was a very happy girl on the hike! We only went about a mile or so before turning around and heading back. We have already decided that we will hike up the trail and camp at Crater Lake someday… And my new life goal is to be able to run it like some guys we saw on our way up. It will happen!
That day was also Mom and Dad’s anniversary! They are such an amazing couple and I am proud to call them my parents. They are wise, kind, caring, patient, consistent and fair. I hope to be the same example of God’s love and grace someday to my children along with my husband. We were beasts.
Our longest travel day was the first day going home. We were in the car for… a long time. I’m not even sure how many hours it was! We drove from our house north of Durango all the way to Amarillo where we stayed in the Big Texan. It’s become a sort of tradition with the family to eat there as the last “hurrah” to vacation. The steak was pretty good, but I think the ambiance is what we’re really paying for. Unfortunately, this year we were seated in a back room, so we didn’t get to see the people taking on the challenge (72 oz. steak, 2 sides and a roll in an hour), but we did hear cheering when one guy finished! It was kinda cool. I really enjoyed the time spent with the family and eating the delicious food! For some reason, when you are eating at 9 PM everything just tastes better!
As I have said many times in this post, I love my family. This trip was so much fun and I wish we could do it every day… I hate that vacation has to end, but it gives me something to look forward to next year and fun memories to laugh about now! God has really blessed me with awesome, loving parents and some pretty fantastic siblings. I just wish Jarrett could have come with us!
Now back to reality…
For your entertainment, here’s the collage of selfies Isaac and I took that I put together! We took one at almost every place we went and every fun thing we did or saw. By the end of the trip we were pretty good selfie takers!