Colorado Journey – into the Heart of the Rockies

Colorado.  There are not any words to describe my addiction to Colorado.  Mountains, trees, breezes, cool streams and rivers.  I can go on forever.  Ever since the first time I visited twenty years ago, I fell in love with Colorado, and left my heart there.  Nothing has compared, not even close.  Any chance I get, I will travel the long lonely roads through West Texas to get there.  Getting me to come home is a different story!

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It is so inspiring. The views from Pikes Peak inspired Katharine Lee Bate to write “America the Beautiful”.  One could sit and drink in the endless beauty for all eternity.  If you go, be prepared with your sketch book, colored medium of choice and allow yourself a few hours if needed to really see the world around you and let it enrich your soul.  Then let the creating begin.   My medium of choice this trip was my camera.  I did not really take time out for myself, instead I chose to watch my children enjoy all that Colorado is.  That was more rewarding to me.  I have a trip to Colorado by myself planned in the back of my head.  Someday it will happen.

And I envy Colorado hiking trails.  Endless opportunities in every direction and challenging if desired.  They beg you to journey down them, to dream of a world untouched by mankind; where nature roams freely, undisturbed.  Our trails here are a bit of a drive, and they are no where near as long or as challenging.  I like to get lost in my thoughts as I wander, a task easily accomplished as I traverse the cool shaded Colorado country side, even with the family in tow.

This trip had us going to parts of Colorado we hadn’t visited yet, and back to some of our favorite places.

Some of our top destinations in Colorado are:

The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  They maintain their hiking trails, it’s kept clean and the views are just amazing.  There is still so much of the park left to explore beyond the road ways.  All this and it’s Free!  It’s history on how it became a free public park is an interesting one.  You can read about it here.

Rocky Mountain National Park.  This land was set aside for preservation, as was much of the National Park system.  I so enjoy the natural landscape, sweeping vistas and lands mostly untouched my human hands.  Here, we have seen elk wander through our campsite and along the streams, sitting amongst the tundra high in the mountains, and along the road sides.  We have hiked to waterfalls rushing over the cliff face to the valley below.  The kids have earned a junior ranger badge by learning about the park, the environment, and what role they can play in keeping it natural.

Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden.  If you are a train enthusiast, or have a little one in your home who loves trains, this museum has trains and cars of all kinds. You can even climb aboard some of them.

Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs.  They have a toddler playground, puppet stage,  3 story slide, and more, and it’s all indoors.  It’s wonderful for a hot, or rainy day to let the kids run around in a safe environment.

Some new places we visited that we enjoyed are:

Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge.  It stands to protect the diversity of plants and wildlife found in this section of the Rocky Mountains.  We were fortunate enough to see two bull moose while we were here, which was the reason we visited.

Dinosaur National Park.  There is a ridge of many bones and fossils that you can view.  It is an interesting site to see.  If your kids (or you) are into dinosaurs, this is a must see.

We pasted by so many neat areas that we just didn’t have time to stop and explore.  Most of these lie within the National Forests that abound in the mountains.

We were on the road a lot.  The switchbacks going up and down the mountain sides, scenic views in every direction, and the thrill of seeing land undiscovered to us, made the journey rewarding.  The kids did great.  I think they got my love for the open road and seeing new places.  That, and we had plenty of activities for them to do.  I even made a road trip booklet for them filled with activities and color pages.  I will share that in a later post.

For now, here is a sampling of the incredible views of Colorful Colorado.

 

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Even with the pine beetle destruction, it is still beautiful here.

 

Colorado With Kids ofthingandwhatnot.com
Rocky Mountain National Park

 

Colorado With Kids ofthingandwhatnot.com
The view back down the Alpine Ridge Trail, Rocky Mountain NP

 

Where do you love returning to?  We’d love to hear all about it!  Leave a comment and let others know so they can put it on their destination list.

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