Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Moose Hunting -- With Gratitude

Too much work, and no vacation,
Deserves at least a small libation.
So hail! my friends, and raise your glasses,
Work's the curse of the drinking classes.
Oscar Wilde

The best advice I received from my mother-in-law, JoAnn, was to always take a vacation. She advocated that even if little time or money existed, it was important to vacation, every year, no matter what.

Taking JoAnn's words to heart, early in my marriage I started a vacation fund at the local credit union. It began at $25 a paycheck and through the years gained more funds due to better paychecks. I guess one might say I was a young Roadtripper before a middle-aged one. Okay, an old one.

Often that money went to other things -- like a college tuition payment or an IRA deposit. Bills. But I made certain a vacation occurred -- even if just a weekend camping or to visit family which was most likely the case while raising three kids.

I have my ideas on vacating, but getting that husband of mine to do so can be a challenge.  Bob doesn't think vacation. He thinks work. Probably good to have that mix in a couple.

When events at his work this past year prompted him to fore go any plans to celebrate a milestone birthday, I became concerned for his welfare. When I pointed out that being overtired, overworked, and greatly in need of rest and relaxation was not a healthy way to live, his eyes glazed over and I could see just how far gone he was.

After 37 years of marriage, this is when I know I must push harder, to make certain his sanity and well being are tended to.

That's my job. Right?

Lo and behold, after weeks of my suggestions we take a road trip the third week of September to visit family in Colorado and hang out at some of our old haunts (we've lived there a couple times), he presents this idea to me.

"Hey, I was thinking. You want to go up to Colorado the third week of September?"

"Sure. Great idea," I say.

Road Trip

Enticed by cheap airfares, we flew to Denver. My oldest brother, Jon, and my brother-in-law, Frank, picked us up at the airport. They offered us a bed with a brand new mattress, delivered that day.

In the morning, they handed us keys to a big Cadillac and said, "Have a good time."

We decided this would work. We headed to the mountains, passing by the University of Colorado so Bob could remind himself how much he didn't enjoy chemical engineering school.

Boulder Turnpike
CU Engineering building

We chugged through much traffic to Estes Park and escaped over Trail Ridge Road

We did not break down this time.

and the Continental Divide

into Grand Lake

where we met up with a bunch of little kids and Bob's sister, Kim.

Kim and her husband, Jeff,  have a cabin across the street from Rocky Mountain National Park.  Our Cadillac fit perfectly in the driveway.

Besides Bob and me, Kim and Jeff were hosting their two daughters and their families. Eight adults. Four kids comprised of two three-year-olds, a sixteen-month-old and a six-month-old.
Been a while since Bob and I had been around babies. We huddled on the couch and stayed out of the way until we could recall the protocol.

Between being taken for $37 and 9 cents by the three-year-olds in their make-believe store and the mild mayhem that accompanies young babies, we quickly settled into the active environment.  I marveled at the ease and efficiency of the young mothers as they ministered their families.  I recalled having that much vigor at some point in my life. Sort of.

Sleep arrived after burritos smothered in green chili followed by much talk. 

The next morning we were alerted by Oliver, my niece's dog, to the presence of a moose outside the window, which prompted a shuffle for shoes and cameras to get outside.

After much preparation, we gathered the group and hiked to Adams Falls, where my husband, of course, taught his grand nephew and niece how to skip rocks into a quiet and peaceful pond.

After a lunch out with a party of 12, the party of 10 left and we found ourselves alone in the cabin.

'Whew!" my husband said as the carloads drove away. "That was a long three days."

"It was 23 hours," I replied.

"No way," he said.

"Still want grandchildren?"

He pondered that.

"Maybe not four at once."

With the cabin to ourselves, we sat on the front porch and came to the realization that here we were in the middle of no where with a Cadillac and a mountain cabin.  Bingo!

We spent our days taking day trips to Steamboat Springs, Winter Park, and back up into Rocky Mountain National Park. We searched for moose and elk, hiked, ate and drank, and generally did nothing.

Columbine Lake. I walked here at least once a day. Took a photo each day. 

Bison found

Yes, Kim, those are my feet on your coffee table, but my shoes are off and back in the mud room.
Deer sighting.
Headed toward Granby.
Shadow Mountain

We drove through a ranch where Bob was a wrangler for a summer when he was in high school.

Walked a peaceful trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

They say the Colorado River begins in Grand Lake. This, however, was listed on the map as the N. Colorado River. Small tributary leading in.
 We were most pleased to have arrived at the peak of the changing of the Aspen.

We had a quick glimpse of where we learned to ski at Loveland Basin -- way back in the 70's.

Back in Denver we returned the Cadillac to Jon and Frank and visited the Botanical Gardens, cruised by my old office buildings from my oil biz days, and ate some fine food.

Clinked a few glasses.

By taking in all that family, the beauty and the relaxing, it worked. Bob remembered vacation might not be such a bad thing.

For that, I'm most grateful to Kim and Jeff  - you can rent their impeccably kept home at VRBO
Great location away from all the tourists and close to nature, ski (downhill and cross county) resorts, boating, fishing, and snowmobile trails.

And to Jon and Frank. (I don't think they will let you rent their Cadillac, though.)

Just what the old boy needed. With much gratitude, we thank you.

Enjoyed it Colorado. Was good to recall your beauty.


  1. So glad you had a great time, it was awesome having you here with us for a few days! Great pictures.

  2. What a classy journey, I have played around there a lot.

    1. I would imagine you have given your love of the outdoors. Beautiful place.

  3. This was a beautiful and exciting read, pardon my voyeurism. Ah, Steamboat Springs.I might write a blog about it, when all parties involved save me have departed this earth. Colorado is beautiful, thanks for the ride. I haven't been there since 1980.

    1. Ha, I'm thinking you need to give up that story much sooner. Sounds like fun.

      I always forget how beautiful Colorado is until I get back there. Rather overwhelming in its beauty.

  4. You managed to make me miss Colorado a whole lot. I lived in Boulder for almost 40 years, and I've visited all those places more than once. Wonderful vacation, for me too! :-)

    1. I didn't realize you had lived in Boulder. Or I spaced that out. Glad you came along with us. Such a fun place.

  5. So many familiar sights in your photos--and I LOVE that you remind your husband of the value of getting away. A reset is definitely periodically necessary.

    1. Resets are indeed valuable and necessary. i.e. Oh, I remember why I like you now. Ha!

  6. Having been born and raised in Estes Park and having a sister that lives across the street from Denver Botanical Gardens, this was a familiar trip and made me homesick.

    1. Oh, I'm sorry. Means you need to take a trip back. I forget about the beauty there when I haven't visited in so long. Then, such awe arrives. How cool you grew up in Estes Park. Beautiful setting.

  7. All great and much remembered as our son & family lived in a suburb of Fort Collins for 5 years and taught school. Trail Ride Parkway not so good as Mrs T had a panic attack going over the top.....

    1. Oh, I can appreciate that but don't tell you wife this story. Time before last our van died 1/2 mile from the summit. Only a steep ledge going down, down on one side. That was exciting.

      Indeed a thrill to drive over it.

  8. Seeing Denver and seeing the Continental Divide again was super as this is an area we have visited a couple of times - so thanks for the memories.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. You are welcome. I'm so glad you've seen it. When asked by those from other countries where they should visit in America, I most often think of Colorado, South Dakota and the Great Lakes and Chicago. And the Pacific NW. And the coast of California. And NYC. And New England. And...

  10. This was so much fun to read. Colorado has been on my list for a long time. Now it's much closer to the top. So glad you both had fun. I hope the next leg of your adventures is just as fun, if not more so. :-)

    1. Yes, the next leg was very special. Now on to the third leg.

  11. Wonderful.
    Love that picture of clinking glasses (chinchin)
    Four happy hands.

    1. They were even happier after those martinis were gone!

  12. Loved this post! I've been to Colorado twice - once several years ago to Boulder and Vail, then again this past summer we flew into Denver, headed straight to Boulder, then began an 1800 mile western adventure. Still working on getting my husband to see the value of vacation (maybe even retirement, but we have to start small). Glad you had such a great trip!

    1. That indeed sounds like an adventure. And, yes, a woman's work is never done when one lives with a workaholic, eh?

  13. What a great getaway for you both. Having ties to such a beautiful place adds a whole extra dimension to a visit.

    1. Those ties made it most special. Indeed fun.

  14. Wow.. that's a beautiful area for sure.. and it sounds like a wonderful way to spend your vacation time. Just think .. if it hadn't been so chaotic the first day, you might not have embraced the quiet quite as much. As my parents used to say... "So nice to see you. So nice to see you go." ;)

    1. Ha! Good point as an excellent segue into the quiet.

  15. What a grand vacation adventure. Our son and his family lived in Colorado for 7 years where we often visited them. Then they moved to Phoenix. I much preferred the mountains to the desert......

  16. I've enjoyed your illustrated story of your vacation. Spending time with family and getting out into those wide open spaces of a nature reserve sounds and looks like a good way to get hubby to relax - and you, of course! Hope the benefits haven't worn off yet!


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