Thursday, August 19, 2010

Estes Park August 2010

One of the highlights of Bethany's visit was our two-night stay in Estes Park. We had an older-looking, but clean and fairly spacious room right next to a bubbling mountain stream. While we were checking in, a huge bull elk waded through the stream and started browsing on some of the bushes right behind our room.
It was a lovely setting, but I was too busy wrangling kids to take many pictures. How much trouble could two kids be in a simple hotel room, I thought? I don't even have to clean up after them, so it should be easy right? Actually, no. Rylan figured out how to open the sliding glass door in 5-seconds flat and tried to dash out to the creek with his sister in hot pursuit. When I banned them from opening the door, they started a boisterous game of tag... in the draperies. They also loved dialing the telephone that looked old enough to be a toy. I was convinced one of them was going to dial 911. Besides enjoying the beautiful national park, that was another reason to spend most of our days outside.
As you can imagine, bedtime in a one room setting was loads of fun, also. We did have some comic relief one night from Caroline. We put her to bed in the pack-n-play and thought she had finally fallen asleep because we hadn't heard a peep from her in a while. All of the sudden, her crazy-haired bed-head pops up, she gives us her most charming smile and asks, "You like cee-uu (cereal) ? You like emmies (M&M's)?" I guess she was hoping to inspire us all to have some of her favorite snacks and share with her!
We ate dinner and walked around downtown Estes Park on our last night. One of the stores had a bin of those irresistable colorful polished rocks. Rylan loves them and always asks to see them in the zoo's gift store. Both he and Caroline dug out handfuls of the beauties and it was a challenge to pry them out of my girl's hands when we had to leave. We had just made it a few steps up the street when I noticed Caroline still held a rock in each hand. Ooops! After extricating those stowaways to return them to the store, Bethany suggested I check behind Caroline in the stroller. Sure enough, that little thief had stolen another dozen rocks and hidden them behind her. What a stinker! Thank goodness that was before she had her enormous poopy diaper blow-out. I guess I would have had to pay for those rocks then.
I love being outdoors with my kids, but I discovered (again) that actually trying to hike somewhere with them means a sore back, lots of whining, and rarely reaching your destination.
We did reach one of our destinations, a pristine icy-cold mountain lake on the Milner Pass trail in the alpine tundra of the Rocky Mtn. National Park. The elevation was about 11,600 feet and it was cold, about 50's and very windy. The kids were barely comfortable in their long pants, two t-shirts, and sweatshirts. I was really wishing I had worn my long pants, but carrying Caroline in my trusty moby wrap was enough of a workout to keep me from shivering. I alternated between prodding Rylan along and carrying him in addition to Caroline. Have I mentioned the scenery was beautiful? Bethany and I felt triumphant when we finally reached the lake after about a mile hike. Rylan wanted to poke my walking stick in the water and I ignored the little warning voice in my head. After I heard the splash and Rylan's scream, everything happened at once. We yanked Rylan out of the water and immediately started stripping off his wet clothes. I was worried about hypothermia in that cold wind. To make a long story short, I ended up carrying 35 lb. Rylan, wearing only his nylon jogging pants, in the moby wrap all the way to the car. I held his bare feet in my hands to keep them warm. Sweet Bethany carried Caroline and we hiked as fast as we could. I don't think I have ever been happier to see our warm car waiting for us. My muscles weren't really sore until the next day, and then, oh my! I learned my lesson(s): Never let Rylan near a mountain lake with his clothes on, and...I am much stronger than I thought I was!

The kids watched movies on our portable DVD player so Bethany and I could enjoy some cable after long days of hiking. That show about animal hoarders on Animal Planet? My goodness...
You can always use a good stick when you are hiking.

Lack of sleep makes Rylan disagreeable for just about anything, especially posing for pictures.

Here's the proof of our crazy adventure. We had just started back, that is why I am still smiling. Rylan stayed pretty smiley. He loved being in the moby wrap just about as much as a baby kangaroo likes to be in his mama's pouch!

If I had longer ears, you could call me a pack mule.

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