Estes Park, Colorado is stunning, and we are extremely lucky to have family who lives there. Back in the day, when Joe and I were completing our internships for our counseling programs, we lived in Estes Park for about 6 months. It’s not hard to find beauty in life when your everyday views include the great Rocky Mountains. So, what am I saying? I’m saying that Estes Park, with the access it has to Rocky Mountain National Park is a natural way to inhale beauty, happiness and wonder. During the summers we make the trip up to Estes whenever possible. And it’s often possible.
On this particular weekend, we stayed up my in-laws for a weekend of picnics and hiking. The first hike was “Twin Owls”. The terrain was typical rocky mountain stuff – rocky, steep declines followed by steep inclines, before we were spit out into a meadow of fairly flat tail were we had sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains and the canyon walls of Lumpy Ridge. We dipped through aspen groves and hiked on a ridge just above a grassy area were we could see horses and cows grazing.
MJ hitched a ride with Joe, while AJ walked. Our little hiker did pretty well, but soon petered-out after we spent some time exposed to the sun. He carried along some members of the Thomas the Train clan and made frequent stops to play out a story with them that he had crafted during the hike. We were about a mile into the hike when I had to make the call to turn around with AJ, and let the others forge ahead without us. AJ was weary and asking to be carried a lot. We didn’t bring a carrier for him, and my 5’1 frame can only carry a 3 year old body for so long.
Once I made the decision to turn back I didn’t regret it. I carried AJ in my arms for about a half mile. We made good time, but I was getting depleted fast! I enjoyed turning around with AJ and meeting his needs. It felt so good to put him first and spend some time alone with him on the tail. The older my kids get the more I learn about agenda’s and how when I’m with my kids I need to put my agenda aside otherwise I become inpatient, irritable, and so on. Being in nature always reminds me to let go and live.
The next day my in-laws packed us a breakfast picnic at a cool lookout with views of Longs Peak and my favorite, Twin Sisters. After the picnic we set off for another, smaller hike. My in-laws are Rocky Mountain professionals. They have hiked most if not all of the trails in the park, and they have so much history in Estes Park. My mother in-laws father owned a hotel in town at one point, and she spent her childhood summers in Estes, being raised by the trails and mountain air. It’s exciting for me to witness this love of nature, the outdoors, CO and hiking being passed onto my sons.
Hiking with family always enhances our tail experience. Joe and I can turn off a little knowing that there are four sets of eyes on our two boys as they learn to navigate the outdoors.
Until next time…Bon voyage!