We took our first family vacation recently. We traveled to Estes Park to enjoy a few days in the mountains. Sarah has never been in the Rocky Mountains, and so we thought it would be a lot of fun to go as a family. We rented a small “bunkhouse” designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright at the base of Old Man Mountain in Estes Park and spent a few days taking in the beauty and the sense of home that the mountains give.
I took quite a few pictures, but here are a some of my favorites. Sorry if I overdid it, but eh, I don’t get to see these sorts of views very often. 🙂
After eight hours in the car, we made it to Estes Park. Of course we had to pull over and get our pic in front of the sign.
Here’s the view from our Bunkhouse. Not too shabby if you ask me.
As soon as we had unpacked the car, we headed back into town to let the kids run around a bit and to enjoy the evening views.
We ran into a huge group of elk in the park and I saw these two guys having a little fun.
The kids had a blast seeing the mountains for the first time. And here you can sort of see all the elk in the background.
The kids did enjoy just sitting in the mountain air too.
We woke up the next morning to bright and beautiful colors out our windows.
I had to go outside and get some shots. Here is our little bunkhouse from the outside.
The colors were incredible. Pinks, oranges, purples all blending together along the snow covered peaks.
After a bit we got into the car for a morning drive. The views were amazing.
It was one of those types of things that no matter how good of a picture I take, nothing can really compare to what the eyes can see and appreciate.
As the driver, it’s hard to pay attention to driving when you have views like this.
That morning light created some beautiful colors.
We noticed grey clouds starting to make their way up into the peaks of the mountains.
A rare picture of me! Thanks, Sarah.
The morning sunlight battling against the snow clouds rolling over the mountains.
Soon enough, the clouds rolled in and we got to experience a winter snow for a while. Here’s the Stanley Hotel about to experience the snow clouds.
We decided to stop into the Stanley Hotel to check it out. It’s a beautiful place, despite it’s creepy history and inspiration for the Stephen King novel, _The Shining_
To hide from the snow for a bit we came back to our bunkhouse. The kids enjoyed just getting into the freezer to play with ice.
After lunch we headed into Loveland to meet up with some friends who live there. We let the kids play at an incredibly cool (and dangerous) playground for a while.
The next day was mostly spend inside Rocky Mountain National Park.
Sometimes it’s hard to really see the perspective of just how big the mountains are or how far away we are from them. But here’s our little Corolla in the foreground of an incredible view near our bunkhouse.
And here’s a closeup of one my favorite peaks in Estes Park.
Our bunkhouse was right next to this mountain called “Old Man Mountain.” Can you see any faces? (I can’t…)
I spotted our new house.
Up in the mountains you can hardly believe what you’re seeing all around you. Here’s a shot of Sarah on our way up to Bear Lake.
We stopped for a bit to take a short hike to go see a waterfall at a location that had tons of rocks dumped due to the big 2013 flood that devastated much of the area.
I love the glimpses you get through the cracks of various mountains.
Sarah carried Ezra as we hiked through the rocks and over a creek.
The Rocky Mountains aren’t just full of rocks. There’s plenty of trees too.
Another example of the camera just attempting to capture a fraction of what the human eye can see.
Even though we missed the peak of the autumn colors, I still loved the contrast of the yellow and brown grass with the green trees, the white bark of the Aspen trees, the snow covered peaks, and the gorgeous blue skies.
We’re my iPhone trying to capture a bit of what we saw.
It was cold enough that the water was freezing along the creek and created some pretty beautiful sights.
Another shot of the small little waterfall where we crossed over the creek.
Here Sarah and Ezra are hiking back to the car.
Yeah. Not much that I can say. Just beautiful.
Sarah and I debate over black and white pictures and color pictures. I personally like the dramatic effect that a black and white shot has.
Sarah almost always prefers the color pictures.
But how could I not try and capture the dramatic effect that the snow creates coming off the mountain?
Ok. Color is still beautiful too.
Here’s five pictures I stitched together. Feel free to click through and check it out on my Flickr. It’s pretty incredible.
Don’t you just love the difference in the colors. Blue. White. Green. Yellow. Very neat.
We didn’t see many wildlife on our trip, but we did come across some mule deer a couple of times.
Here’s a black and white shot of one of my favorite mountains.
Perhaps my favorite moment on the trip was down in the valley here in Rocky Mountain National Park. The views are just incredible.
Don’t be too impressed with my photography here. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I just pulled out my camera and hit click here. Just too good.
My aunt was our incredible guide through the Rocky Mountains. It was so fun that she got to spend the day with us. Here’s her and Ezra playing in the field.
The kids had a blast here. They ran around. Climbed on rocks. Laughed. Played. It was great.
I didn’t know if Ezra would really appreciate all that he was seeing. What does a 1.5 year old think of mountains? But he really seemed to like it.
He just stood here and looked at the mountains and appreciated the view. I’m so glad I caught this on my camera.
The boys were adventurers, and even Sarah decided to become a rock climber for a moment.
Here’s Sarah with a fun photo op and Micah climbing up the side of the rock.
As we winded our way through the mountains it was neat to see the different perspectives of the same mountains.
We walked up to the edge of Bear Lake. There was snow and ice at this point and it was a bit chillier, so we grabbed a couple pictures and headed back down.
We headed into Boulder for a while to enjoy the city and the views of the Flat Irons. Beautiful of course.
Down here there was still some color. (How’d you like to live right there?)
We headed back into Estes Park and the sun was shining nicely on the Stanley Hotel.
Family shot. What a vacation. When can we go back?