Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rocky Mountain High

We arrived today at one of Colorado's many National Parks. (I won't say which one until we've left so I don't give away our location to any nut job out there). Both girls COMPLAINED about leaving their paternal grandparents' home for a few days and the car ride was far from joyful. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate today's parental joy factor near the very bottom... I kept wondering if Ritalin loses its effect the higher altitude you reach... That sure seemed to be the case... 

You would never know from these pictures taken later in the afternoon just how dreadful much of today was... 

Ever wonder about all those cheerful pictures in people's albums, particularly scrapbookers'? All those titles that go unsaid... God sure knew what he was doing when he gave my children such beautiful and angelic faces. When my patience is BEYOND gone, my love never is... When I'm about to SCREAM at them, their faces remind me of their hearts...

But the park made it all worthwhile. The whining, wailing and fighting stopped, no... make that periodically subsided... as the girls realized that maybe their mother actually does know a thing or two about planning something fun for us to do. (You'd think they would have learned by now... As much as they drag their feet to any planned outing, they almost always end up having a blast). 

After a few hours checking into our hotel, grabbing lunch and meandering a bit around town, we headed up into the park. The ranger who gave me the materials for the Junior Ranger Program was super; we'll go on a hike tomorrow morning with him. I'll write more about the Junior Ranger Program tomorrow; that's what we'll spend the entire day doing. 

He suggested a short hike up to a beautiful waterfall to end our day and it was fantastic. Upon entering the park, we almost immediately noticed the wildlife... Three deer, a wolf (!), a raven... During our hike we also came across many of these fellows:

Clearly demonstrating that she's NOT a Coloradan like her dad, Katya claimed to spot a shark and flamingo in the park... (HUH? How could she read that many encyclopedias and come up with that?!). 

The hike was rather short, only two miles, but it was more than enough for the girls... They had fun without getting too tired; they energetically scampered over rocks, touched trees and leaves and looked for wildlife. Within minutes of heading down the trail, Katya exclaimed, "Wow!!"

They had a great time hiking with my dad. 

Katya held his hand a lot and they enjoyed dipping their hands and faces in the cold mountain water.

The waterfall was so pretty... and LOUD! 

Both girls were so awe-struck that they posed for some pictures without any protest! 

We finished off the day with dinner at a restaurant I'll whole-heartedly recommend once I disclose our location. After I snapped this following picture, the owner came up and commented that one day Natalia will probably hate me for it... I replied that she had so many other pictures to find embarrassing that this one would barely even merit mention... And if she really didn't like the picture, she wouldn't have to wait until she's a teen-ager to be annoyed; I would likely be posting it on the internet within two hours! That sure got a chuckle out of him!

He even offered to refund us the price of her meal if she'd fallen asleep before it came!

Everyone is now in bed and I'm going to sneak out to run on the treadmill before hitting the sack...


Christine said...

I love the last pic. How cute! I sent you a card to the return address from where you sent the package. Thanks for everything.

Tina in CT said...

What a beautiful place and love the stream. I am sure glad that I wasn't in the car for the ride - poor dad.

Thank you for not putting the name of the park as you know how paranoid I am.

garnet said...

Does this sort of trip ever sound familiar. No matter how often we go out to a park, my daughter will complain bitterly about how much she hates to go and often make our lives miserable. Doesn't matter that she always ends up having a good time (not that she will admit to that).

The place looks beautiful. Sadly, I haven't had much chance to be in this part of the country.

Marinka said...

The pictures are fantastic! And yes, I've had those family vacations which require a recovery-from-vacation vacation.

I'm looking forward to reading about Moscow. I grew up in Leningrad. Well, St. Pete.

Annie said...

Well, it was a LITTLE depressing to read this post AFTER the previous one. Didn't realize that you'd both PLANNED and ANTICIPATED the ruined outing.

I will be interested to know where you are. I spent my childhood in Colorado's National parks, camping, hiking, backpacking with my dad. I grew up in Boulder.

Tina in CT said...


I'll be on the lookout for the card as Tamara would have used my home address.


Rachael said...

Oh, I hear you on the sweet smiling picturesque faces, and the bratty behind the scenes behavior. Been there, done that before! :) Glad you had a nice hike, at least.

Tami said...

Next time to go to Colorado I'll only be a couple of hours away!!! When you have a minute, come stop by and see our news. ;>)