Posts Tagged With: Colorado

Garden of the Gods

We visited Garden of the Gods twice while we were in Colorado Springs.  The first time was on the Saturday of July 4th weekend and it was packed!  Despite the crowds we had a great time because we got to enjoy it with the Smith family that we met last year in California.

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We love this family and would love to camp with them again.  Shortly after we met them last year they settled down in a mountain cabin in Colorado so they are no longer traveling.  But they still have their RV, so hopefully we will get to camp together again someday.

Since that Saturday was so crowded and the weather wasn’t that great, we decided to go back again on the morning of July 4th.  We got there at 8am to beat the crowds and the heat.  It worked!

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This place is amazingly beautiful!

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The history of the name comes from 2 surveyors who in 1859 came upon these beautiful sandstone formations while looking to start a new townsite called Colorado City. One of the men suggested it would be a “capital place for a beer garden” while his companion said “Beer garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it Garden of the Gods.”

Charles Elliott Perkins purchased the land in 1879.  After he died, his children knowing how he felt about this land donated it to the city of Colorado Springs specifying that it shall always remain free to the public and it is still free today.

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Just after I took this last picture of the mountains and purple flowers my phone died.  My phone is also my camera.  Our 4th of July holiday was interrupted by a visit to the Verizon store.  Thankfully the pictures were salvaged, but the phone could not be fixed so I had to get a new one before we could continue on with our day of sightseeing.  On to Pikes Peak next.

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Colorado Springs

After the Fulltime Families rally we headed to Colorado Springs.  We spent about 10 days there which included the 4th of July.  We stayed at Cheyenne Mountain State Park which was beautiful!  The park sits up high on a hill above Colorado Springs so we had a spectacular view of the city below.  In the evening the city lights were so pretty.  The Ft. Carson Army base was just below the state park and they set off fireworks on July 3rd.  We had great seats for that show with no crowds or traffic, and once the fireworks ended we were already home.  That’s my kind of fireworks show!

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Waiting for the fireworks to start.

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Fat Cat loved this site too.  She loved stalking rabbits outside but she didn’t catch any.  I guess they were too big compared to the chipmunks she liked catching at Ridgway.

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Now THAT is a lazy, fat cat!

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I rode the bike path once while we were there.  That was enough for me!  I don’t think I’m cut out for mountain biking.  Going uphill is so hard, and coming down is scary.  Some pathways were so narrow the bushes were rubbing up against me and it freaked me out wondering what critters could be hiding in those bushes.  And every time I came around a corner I was afraid I would run into a bear!  I used to come upon alligators on my bike rides in Florida, but now I’m in bear country and they scare me more than alligators.  I’m thinking I would be better off sticking to relatively flat and wide open trails.  Still, it was a pretty ride and when I wasn’t so out of breath going uphill or out of control going downhill, I stopped to take some pictures. 🙂

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Thankfully the only wildlife I encountered were several prairie dogs that I couldn’t get pictures of because they’re so bashful, and this cute rabbit that didn’t mind my presence at all.

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While we were in Colorado Springs I took the kids to Focus on the Family.  This is a ministry that provides Christian support and advice on marriage and parenting.  They have an amazing kids play area including a 3-story slide that the boys loved!

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The boys also loved the area where they could put on performances like a puppet show…

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…and dress up as characters from Adventures in Odyssey and perform on stage.

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We also visited Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak,  but I will save those for separate posts so this post does not get too long.  Stay tuned!

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fulltime Families Rally in Colorado

We attended our 4th Fulltime Families (FtF) rally in Montrose, CO.  It was a total blast!  We met up with some families that we met at previous rallies and also some new families.  Some of our favorite memories on the road have been spent with other traveling families.

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The rally was held at the Jellystone Park in Montrose, CO.  We went a few days earlier than the rally started which gave us some time to catch up with some other friends that got there a little early.  We went back to Ouray to visit Box Canyon Falls with the Lundy family.  The falls were really cool!  The water coming through the canyon is so powerful and loud!

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Soon enough more families started pulling into the campground and the rally officially began.

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I can’t even explain just how much fun it is to be parked next to several other traveling families.  We hung out every evening for campfires and happy hours and talked until late into the night.  Meanwhile the kids were off and running from sunup until sundown (and beyond) having a blast playing with all the other kids.

One afternoon when it was raining outside, several kids ended up at our RV to play with play-doh. Or I should say “to make a mess” because you know that’s how it goes with play-doh! 😉

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One of the planned activities was an obstacle course for the kids where they went to each “booth” for an activity to complete.  At this table the activity was to paint a mask because the theme of this rally was “Super Heroes”.

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Jesse’s friend Dylan was showing him how to use the bow & arrow to shoot the colored soda bottles.

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I love Olivia’s face in this one.  She is determined to hit that soda bottle!

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After everyone completed the obstacle course, they all gathered around the Yogi Bear statue for a picture.

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One of our favorite activities was the Super Hero Pet Parade.  We made a cape for Super Fat Cat to wear.  She was not happy about being paraded around the campground, but she really tolerated it well.  And she became famous!  After that everyone knew who Fat Cat was, and whenever people passed by our site they would say “hey, there’s Fat Cat!”

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There were all kinds of pets in this parade including frogs and rats.

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And dogs of course!

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And even stuffed animals!

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Once the parade started, Fat Cat tried to fly away.  Too bad her cape didn’t have real super powers!

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Strangely, the pool at this campground was closed for most of the time we were there (even though it was well past Memorial Day and the weather was in the 90s).  I say “strangely” because this is supposed to be a Jellystone Park, but it wasn’t like any other Jellystone we have been to.  They did not have nearly as many fun activities and amenities as most Jellystone Parks have, but we made up for that with our own FtF activities.  The pool finally opened a couple of days before we left so the kids wanted to make the most of it while they had the chance.

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On Saturday night we had the Super Hero pizza dinner and dance party.  Clementine had a really cool costume!

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Jennifer made us feel tall by making herself look short next to us. 🙂

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Our last night around the campfire was really fun.  I think we stayed out so late because we knew we were leaving the next day and wanted to make the fun last as long as possible.

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I miss these girls!

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If you are a traveling family, I would highly recommend you find a Fulltime Families rally near you and go.  We have made the most amazing friendships and memories at these rallies!

One last silly picture of the super heroes. 🙂

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Categories: Colorado, Fulltime RV'ing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Black Canyon National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is in Montrose, Colorado.

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The Gunnison River winds through the bottom of the canyon.

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This park has many beautiful viewpoints and a few hiking trails.  We only spent a few hours there because it was a very hot day, but we managed to see some awesome views and hiked one trail.

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And the boys earned new Junior Ranger badges.

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We enjoyed our visit in spite of the heat, but I think it would be more fun to explore this park when the weather is a little cooler.

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Ridgway State Park

I hesitated to write this blog post because we loved this state park so much and we don’t want the secret to get out.  If that happens, this place may get overly crowded. 😉

Ridgway State Park is in Ridgway, CO and there are 3 campgrounds within the park.  We started out at the Pa Co Chu Puk campground (that’s a fun name to say!)  The sites in this section are full hookup and the site we had was very woodsy and secluded (which we like).  The only bad thing was it was so woodsy that all the trees at our site blocked our view of the Uncompahgre River (pronounced un-come-pah’-gray) which was just beyond the trees.  We could hear the noise of the rushing river very clearly though.  Here is Fat Cat lounging on the picnic table, and just beyond the trees is the river.

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Speaking of Fat Cat I think this was her favorite site ever!  She became a professional hunter of chipmunks at this site.  She would hide in the long grass and pounce on every chipmunk that was unlucky enough to cross her path.  Whenever we saw her catch one we had to come to the poor chipmunk’s rescue and make her let it go.  Unfortunately we didn’t rescue one soon enough because she left the poor thing at our doorstep.  I think she thought she was leaving us a present!  She liked her hunting activities at this site so much that she woke us up at 5:00 every morning to go out.  She wanted to spend all day outside!  During the week I like to get up that early anyway to get an early start on work, but I did NOT appreciate her waking me up at 5am on the weekend!  We started shooting her with squirt bottles and a Buzz Lightyear nerf gun when she started her meowing in the morning. 🙂

This campground had some nice bike trails and views of the river.

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And a nice playground for the kids.

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I can’t say enough about how awesome the bike trails are at this park; especially because the views on the ride are amazing!  I have gone for many beautiful bike rides, but I think the rides I took at this park have been the most awesome.

The Enchanted Mesa trail goes from the Pa Co Chu Puk campground to the Dutch Charlie section of the park.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started on this trail.  Keep in mind I’m used to flat trails in Florida!  It started with a steep uphill climb with a 300 foot elevation gain with lots of switchbacks and steps.  I actually had to push my bike up this hill, and I literally thought I had taken the wrong path.  All 4 of us went back another evening to hike up this hill.

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I was so tired and out of breath pushing my bike up this hill, and I almost turned around and attempted to go back down, but going back down looked rather intimidating so I kept on.  And I’m so glad I did!  Not only was I very close to the top when I almost turned around, but I was rewarded with the most incredible views from the top of the Enchanted Mesa.

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This is the view looking down on the Ridgway Reservoir dam.

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The water was such a beautiful turquoise blue.  My pictures as always just don’t do it justice.

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The Enchanted Mesa trail ends at the marina at the section of the park called Dutch Charlie.  There is a marina, a swim beach, picnic areas and a really cool playground at this section.  There is also a visitor center, many other wonderful hiking and biking trails, and 2 more campgrounds.

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After exploring the whole area on my bike, all 4 of us went back another day to check out everything on this side of the park.

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Teepee on nature trail.

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Scenic overlook near visitor center.

The boys liked the swim beach, but the water was still quite cold.  They didn’t stay in very long.

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The swim beach has some nice picnic areas and grassy areas to just sit and relax.

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The playground was one of the best playgrounds we’ve ever seen.  There was a huge, enclosed slide that went from the playground down to the swim beach.

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These pictures are from the Enchanted Mesa again when all 4 of us hiked up there.  It looked like a thunderstorm was brewing in the distance so we didn’t spend very much time up there.

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We only had a reservation for 1 week at this park, but our plans for the following week fell through.  Since we liked it there so much we asked about extending our stay.  We ended up moving to the Elk Ridge campground in the Dutch Charlie section where we had a huge and beautiful site with amazing views!

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Fat Cat didn’t find as many chipmunks at this site, but she did like climbing the trees.

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The Elk Ridge section only has electric hookups (no water or sewer).  We have stayed in campsites with no sewer before, but this was the first time that we tried a site with no water hookup.  This meant we had to fill up our fresh water tank before moving to that site.  There was a water spigot across from our site so Chris was able to stretch 2 hoses over to get more water when we ran out.  Now that we know how to camp with no water or sewer hookup, we are 1 step closer to boondocking.  We just need a generator to provide some electricity and we can try living off the grid sometime.

I went for another bike ride from here all the way to the town of Ridgway which was another beautiful ride.

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I came across this really nice Eagle Memorial and Rock Garden along the bike trail.

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I read this sign about all the stacks of “prayer stones” I saw throughout the garden.

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So I decided to make my own pile of prayer stones and I said a prayer for a friend back home in Florida who I know just wants her son to be able to come home.  I also want to add prayers for all of those who have suffered tragedies in Florida this past week.  It was a sad week in my home state and my heart goes out to everyone affected by those events.

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Anyway, I can’t say enough good things about this state park and campground.  The campsites were beautiful, the views were amazing and there was so many fun things to do there.  It’s also not a long drive into Ouray and Telluride which we visited from there.

Shh!  Don’t let anyone know how awesome this campground is.  I don’t want it to get too crowded. 😉

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Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Return Visit to Telluride

It has now been almost 17 months since we ditched the suburbs to live in our RV and travel this beautiful country.  In that time we have not re-visited the same place until now.  I should clarify that is with the exception of Florida since going back there is like going home, not visiting a new place.  Anyway, we loved our visit to Telluride, CO so much last year that we decided to go back again this year while we were in the area.

It was like deja vu.  We did almost exactly all the same things as last year.  One of the fun things to do in Telluride is to ride the free gondola.  There is a very nice, spacious parking garage (where even our big truck can fit) up in Mountain Village.  Last year it was $7 to park there for the day, which seemed reasonable, but this year we were pleasantly surprised to find that the parking is now free!

From the parking garage you can access the start of the gondola ride into Telluride, and it is a beautiful ride.

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The gondola takes you to the Mountain Village shops first.  Then you change to a different gondola that goes up the mountain where you can either get off and check out the scenic viewpoints, or continue on down into the town of Telluride.

The town of Telluride is so cute!  I could never get tired of this place.

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Bear Creek Falls is a popular hike that you can access from the end of one of these roads.  It’s a 2.5 mile hike up to the falls and then of course, 2.5 miles back down.  The views hiking up are amazing!  When we were here in August last year there was no more snow on the mountains, but this year being earlier in the season, there was still a little snow left.

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Once we made it up to the falls it started raining, just like last year.  Did I mention deja vu?

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I would really like to make it up here sometime while the sun is still shining so my pictures aren’t so cloudy.

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Once we got back down the trail, we were starving and went to the same Mexican restaurant we ate at last year, Esperanza’s.  We had the same waiter who sat us at the same table.  This repeating a day from last year was getting pretty funny.  If we had to repeat a day though, this was a good one because it really was one of my favorite places we went to last year.

After our late lunch/early dinner, we headed back to Mountain Village on the gondola again.  There are condos all over this area because it is a ski resort in the winter time.  I would love to come here to ski sometime!

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More pictures from our return trip on the gondola.

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And finally a few more pictures of this beautiful area.  I absolutely love this part of Colorado!  If I had to settle down and live in a house without wheels (which I don’t want to do), I think I could live somewhere in southwestern Colorado.  It is awesome!

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Ouray Hot Springs and Falls

Ouray (pronounced you-ray) is a super cute little town in southwest Colorado.  It is nicknamed the Switzerland of America and I can see why.

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Ouray Hot Springs was so much fun!  The water is hot year round and we saw pictures of people there in the winter with snow all around while they were in the springs.  How cool is that!  There was still snow on the mountains when we were there, but it wasn’t cold outside anymore.

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The boys loved playing on the obstacle course, but before they could do that they were required to pass a swimming test. We assumed this would be easy because they have been swimming since they were babies in our backyard pool.  It turns out it wasn’t quite so easy because they were required to swim with the correct breast stroke and back stroke techniques.  Since the only swimming lessons they ever had were Infant Survival Swimming lessons when they were babies, they have never learned these proper swimming strokes.  They are both really good swimmers but they just didn’t understand what was required.  The lifeguards were nice though and explained what was expected.

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Jake passed the first time, but unfortunately Jesse didn’t.  He was pretty disappointed, so we went to the shallow pool and practiced.  I showed him what they were expecting and he picked it up quickly.  He re-took the test and passed!  Now they both could do the obstacle course.

Here are Chris and Jake running the race.

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This is the other side of the obstacle course before they slide down into the water.

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Jesse and Chris raced too.

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And not to be left out, I wanted to get in on the fun too!

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Jesse is winning of course!

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Besides the obstacle course, there was a water slide that was really fun.

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The hot springs was of course the highlight of our time in Ouray, but we also loved visiting this cute little town.  I bet this looks like a winter wonderland in the winter time.  Maybe that’s why they call it the Switzerland of America?

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There is a very scenic drive called the Million Dollar highway just at the end of the town.

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We only rode on it for a few miles because it was a scary drive.  I don’t have pictures, but when you get higher up, there are no guard rails and the road is narrow and curvy with a very long drop-off on the side of the road.  Chris was white-knuckling that for a little bit until we could find a place to turn around.  The views were amazing though!

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We hiked to the Cascade Falls and on the way up we saw this cute little house that reminded me of something you might see in a fairy tale.

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We had so much fun in Ouray.  It’s definitely on our growing list of places we would like to return to someday.

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Memorial Day in the Snow

Considering that we lived in Florida for 15 years before traveling, playing in the snow on Memorial Day was quite a novelty for us.  We spent the day at Grand Mesa National Forest which was absolutely beautiful.  We didn’t exactly dress appropriately for snow; we thought we would be hiking in the forest.  However, most of the hiking trails were covered in snow, and even several of the roads were still closed and covered in snow.  So we just enjoyed a most unusual (for us) Memorial Day playing in the snow.

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On the way up to Grand Mesa we saw this interesting sight of cows in the road.  They didn’t seem to care that they were holding up traffic. 🙂

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We had planned to go to a picnic area for lunch, but this is as far as we went in our truck up the road and then decided to turn around and find someplace else to eat.  That’s Jesse running up the hill.

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We ended up at the parking lot at this lake and had a tailgate picnic.  It was quite chilly for us Floridians in shorts!

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Then we walked down a short trail that brought us to a campground that was mostly under snow.  The boys loved throwing snowballs until their hands got too cold!

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After that we hiked around some lakes as far as we could go.  The combination of snow and lakes was so beautiful!

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After walking around the lakes for awhile we continued on the scenic byway through Grand Mesa and saw even more snow and some icy lakes.

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When we got to the Visitor Center it looked like they had just plowed the parking lot.  The Visitor Center actually just opened that day for the season.

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If we are ever back in this area in the summertime we’ll have to make a return visit to try some of the trails.  But we were certainly not disappointed to find all this snow.  It was a really fun day and the boys loved playing in it and throwing snowballs.  And considering it was quite hot down in Fruita where we were staying, this was a refreshing change.

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Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument is in Fruita and Grand Junction, CO.  We hiked there for a few days while we were in the area.  It was similar to Utah with all the red rocks, but different because of all the mountains in the background.  It’s like the transition from the red rocks of Utah to the mountains of Colorado and that makes for lots of gorgeous scenery!

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On the way up into the hills we saw lots of big horn sheep.

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And we drove through a couple of cool tunnels.  I don’t know if we could have driven our house through there!

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There are several beautiful viewpoints and hikes to do in this park.  We went there in the evenings a few times after work because we were staying at a campground just 3 miles from the entrance.  We also spent a whole weekend day there.

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There is an entrance to this park in Fruita and also in Grand Junction and you can drive the whole scenic Rimrock Drive through from one side to the other.  Since the Fruita side was near our campground we drove all the way to the Grand Junction side only on the weekend when we had more time.  We did 2 hikes on the Grand Junction side: the Devil’s Kitchen and the Serpent’s Trail.  Who comes up with these names?  I can tell you that the Devil’s Kitchen was a very cool and refreshing rock room at the end of the hike where you could rest and cool off.  Not at all how I would imagine the devil’s kitchen to really feel like!

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Serpent’s Trail was a long hike uphill and then back down with amazing views all around.  And since it’s called Serpent’s Trail I expected to see lots of snakes but we only saw one.

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Later in the week we went back again in the evening so the kid’s could get their Junior Ranger badges.

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And we also did the Coke Ovens hike that night because it was too crowded on the weekend.

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On the way to the Coke Ovens we found this cave that was a little bit off the trail.  My 3 guys thought it would be fun to go in it, but I thought it was just creepy.  We walked in and were surprised at how far back it goes.  I opened up my flashlight app on my phone so we could see where we were going.  We did see light at the end of the tunnel but it got too narrow to crawl through (at least for adults).  All I could think of was what if there is a bear in here, or snakes or who knows what else?  Ah, the adventures of living with boys! 🙂

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The rest of the pictures are of some of the scenic viewpoints you can find along Rimrock Drive.

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They have a Balanced Rock just like Arches National Park!

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While we were in Fruita we stayed at James M. Robb Colorado River State Park.  Now that’s a mouthful of a name for a state park!  We had a really nice site with plenty of space (unlike those crowded RV parks in Moab). 🙂

Fat Cat loved this campground!  She would hide in the bushes and try to hunt birds.  One evening Chris & I were sitting outside enjoying the sunset and the cat was crouched down like she was ready to attack something.  Suddenly a black bird came low enough for her and she leaped into the air and actually touched the bird!  The bird flew safely away, but oh how I wish I could have captured that on video!  The picture below is Fat Cat resting on the picnic table until…

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… just minutes later she hears a bird on the roof of the patio cover!

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We enjoyed beautiful sunsets every evening.

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We loved this state park, but the weather suddenly turned really hot… I mean like 95+ degrees hot.  I didn’t think Colorado got that hot!  Anyway, the nice thing about having a house on wheels is that when the weather gets unpleasant we can move on.  And move on we did to higher elevations.

 

 

Categories: Colorado, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Navajo State Park

Navajo State Park is located in southwest Colorado, just across from New Mexico on Navajo Lake.  This was the perfect place to rest up after a busy couple of weeks in New Mexico and to prepare for another couple of busy weeks visiting national parks in Utah.

This state park is about 45 minutes from Durango and Pagosa Springs, and you know what?  We didn’t go to either one.  That’s what happens when you’re a full-time RV’er.  Sometimes you realize you just need some downtime and you can’t see and do it all. We’re not on vacation, this is our life.  And sometimes in life you need time to get caught up on work, school, household chores, and time to just chill out.  That’s what we did at Navajo State Park.  Not a bad place to just unwind and rest for a week.

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Chris is walking the cat. 🙂

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The day we arrived in Colorado it was very cold.  It was snowing during parts of our drive that day, but by the time we got to our campground it was only raining.  It was the first time in all of our travels that we had to set up our home in the rain.  And it was freezing!  By the next day the sun came out and the rest of the week was just beautiful.

Jake and I went hiking on the nature trails that we could access just behind our campsite.

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He is getting a lot of use out of his camera he got for Christmas.

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We had a nice backyard for the week to enjoy.

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Jesse was playing badminton by himself!

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Fat Cat settled into a shipping box and asked to be shipped back to Florida. 🙂  Just kidding, I really think she loves these new places to explore (including boxes)!

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Chris took both boys to play golf.  Now they can’t wait to see Grampa again and play golf with him.

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Next up we plan to visit some of the fabulous national parks in Utah.  Be prepared for lots of blog posts.  I imagine I will be taking LOTS of pictures!

 

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