9.27.2015

Oh ColoRADo

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There are moments when I just don't think that Colorado could get any better and then she goes and really really throws it down. 

That is clearly what happened over the 4th of July when we planned out Silverton/Telluride trip. 

We pulled into Silverton late one evening and pitched our tent for a good nights rest as we planned to hike to Ice Lake in the morning. We snuggled in for a damp night and woke early in the morning for the trail.

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We knew it was going to be long (7 miles) and hard (2500 ft elevation gain) so we packed all sorts of snacks, a water purifier, the carrier for Rose, and overly optimistic parental attitudes for what lay ahead. 

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Right off the bat we came to the most intimidating waterfall crossing I have ever seen - I considered turning around right then.  The water was soooo icy and pounding so hard down the cliff 30 feet above us and 50 feet below that Easy had to carefully carried each girl across one by one. I don't know how he did it. It was so cold that I could barely get across once and I didn't even do that on my own!! - he met me halfway and held my hand to the other side when I panicked. 

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We wound around the trees and followed the switch-backs until we got to Lower Basin where the trail opened up into a beautiful valley scattered with wildflowers, more streams to cross (these were less intimidating), snow in the crevices, and so far my very favorite views in the whole state.

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Soooo green!

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Keeping the girls going involved lots of, "Lets see how many different flowers we can find" "Lets sing a song""You can do hard things!" "I know it's hard, but look how great you are doing!" 

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As we ascended the steep, snowy, slick last mile after the valley all spirits were down. I knew the Rockies had gotten a lot of snow over the winter and early spring, but I wasn't expecting this much on the trail. At times mine and E's legs would drop through the pack 12-15" and snow would completely cover our exposed feet - I carried Roo most of the way. The girls' socks and shoes were soggy and the thin icy air at 12,000ft made it hard to press on. We had a few moments where I was truly worried about our crew.

Easy kept saying, "It's just up a little further." And the girls' faces would sink when the lake didn't appear after each little ridge.

When we got to the top I was expecting what all the pictures had shown, a beautiful aqua blue ice lake, but instead we were met with...more ice and snow almost completely covering the dark water. I was a little mad actually (!!!) for just a moment. But holy cow our girls did it! They made the ascent and traversed that slippery icy trail, 5+ freezing stream crossings, and kept on going despite being tired, cold, and defeated.  We huddled around, fueled our bodies, and thawed our feet as E filtered us fresh icy water for the trek down.

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Going back through the snow proved to be just as tricky on the way down, but things were warming up a bit (slippery!!) and we were in a hurry to make a train so we busted it out of there. 

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We missed our train by minutes and had to hang around town for a bit then finally caught another one for Durango.

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The sights along the Durango-Silveton Narrow Gauge Railroad were spectacular along the Animas River...

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and we were so grateful to rest our tired legs. 

We got into Durango with only a backpack for the 6 of us and grabbed some burgers then walked to our hotel for the night where we cleaned up and tried to sleep. Unfortunately though we awoke in the wee morning hours to Rosie puking. Agh!!! Then just before breakfast I barely got Mae into the street from the lobby to wretch. Horrible. 

We loaded the train back to Silverton with a barf bag and hopes of everyone else keeping their food down. 

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Our train was heavy...they said the rails were wet...who knows really...whatever...the point is that it couldn't get up the hill. 

And it attempted to back up and try again and again with no result. 

We were stuck. 

For hours. 

On a train. 

With lots of people. 

E and 2 of the girls were seated a few cars away from me. And after time ticked by he eventually got the great idea to chauffeur our little family on into the empty first class car. So there we were and no one said a thing about it.

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We had an entire car to ourselves and when the diesel engine came down to get us we rode the rest of the way back with complete freedom in comfy seats. That man of mine is a genius!!

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Here we are with that damn engine.

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After we got in we attempted to drive off road a bit to a ghost town but we couldn't quite make the trek in our mini van (this was the first of many times this summer that we were held back due to not having a higher clearance vehicle) so we headed back to camp.

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The next morning we got up, packed up our campsite and headed over to the parade to celebrate the 4th.

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These girls are troopers and the best ages for any kind of celebration. They get so into it! 

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The parade was kicked off with jets flying overhead, lots of jeeps, fire engines spraying the crowd, tav's, thousands of mardi-gras type beads, and of course candy. 

After the parade we drove back across the million dollar highway (highway of sheer death) over to Telluride.

Telluride is gorgeous!

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We could have easily spent more time there, but with one day we hit the gondola, got some pizza, walked the main road, and set up along the river for fireworks to finish off the 4th. 

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Waiting for fireworks. 

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We left the next morning for home after hitting up the hotel pool. 

If anyone asks me what my favorite adventure in Colorado is I'd have say this..

or our Twin Lakes/Ice Caves trip last from our first summer here...

or maybe Mesa Verde/Pagosa Springs.

Haha. 




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