Who doesn't love to travel? Getting out of the familiar and into an unknown is thrilling. Or at least for me it is. I grew up traveling a lot, one - because my dad used to work for Northwest airlines and two my mom, being a foreigner, loved to travel as well.
In recent years i've learned something about myself - not only do I love arriving at the destination, but I actually LOVE planning out the details of the trip. I am that crazy person creating lists and itineraries (that's totally the J in my personality type) and drawing out maps of exactly how I want to experience the trip. (I guess "travel agent" could be one of my back up back up back up plans if the whole nursing thing didn't work out.) I am that person that searches instagram (hashtags and all -like its MUH JOB) to find that perfect spot that everyone raves about and can't speak enough about it.
So ah course I took that approach for our trip to Colorado.
Although I really love planning trips - I am a proclaimed procrastinator. So I made the mistake of planning the trip a little last minute (like a couple days before we left). I had to be strategic in my planning because we had people that we needed to visit and blah blah. This becomes difficult when you quickly realize that things you want to do are really expensive (aka just staying a couple nights in a hotel) or because of your list minute plans, all reservable camping sites in the areas you want are completely full.
I managed to find ONE last reservable campsite in Estes Parks (I had kind of researched dispersed camping - which is very primitive and are non reservable campsites, but all I could think of was taking a poop and a bear attacking me because of my vulnerability, but it was our back up option). I also decided to check out Airbnb because I had a really good experience in Los Angeles last year, and fell in love with a couple places (thus solving the expensive hotel nights)
So, we packed our bags (more like Mike did all the packing, because I unfortunately had some of the craziest packed worked days before the trip) and headed out west. I had worked half the day when we left, so we decided to spend the night in Omaha to give us a break. Here is where my Airbnb skills came into play (also, little back story - Mike really wants a goat) - I had found A TINY HOME AIRBNB ON A GOAT FARM for $75! Since Mike likes goats and we needed a cheap place to sleep, (plus the tiny home fit my whole vision of a roughing it type of vaca) we stayed there! We got into Omaha around six pm, so we ate dinner at the Twisted Fork in downtown Omaha and headed to our Tiny Home for the evening! Below are some shots I took on my phone - wish I would have taken more!
I was so distracted with the fact I found a tiny home and all of its cutest, that I skimmed over an important detail of the place - the compost toilet. Let me tell you that detail was a surprise to us when we first walked in! I knew there was running water (for a shower) but I wasn't thinking that wouldn't apply to the toilet. It was a wood chip kind of compost toilet, and the only thing I could think of with that is feeling like a hamster.
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ for air conditioning though, because thankfully the tiny home had air con! Mike and I were anticipating cooler nights in Colorado - but completely spaced out that Nebraska would still be hot and humid. Tbh, I loved the tiny home! My expectations of the place were pretty accurate, so for me, it was nice to spend a night "roughing it" with air con - Mike on the other hand didn't like it. He's the type of person that if there is air conditioning and running water - he wants to be in a hotel, not a tiny home. We also came in pretty late in the evening when it was dark, so it was hard to gage what our surroundings were.
So we slept the night and left pretty early the next morning. As promised - there weregoats...... like a shit ton. I wish I had a good picture of them, but I just didn't take any great shots. So after we left Gretna (that's where the tiny home was at) we were on the road again to Colorado! A girl on the train is a great audiobook to listen to for long car rides btw.
We got to Estes Park, Co around 5 or 6p and found our campsite (which was in the east portal) A couple realizations I had about Estes Park - 1. Its not just a park (like a national park) its actually a little city/town. 2. Its A LOT bigger than I had expected! I soon realized that the reason why I was having such a hard time finding camping in the area - is because there was a MASSIVE Scottish festival (guys with kilts and all) being held that weekend! Of course!
So we set up our tent and area - and decided we'd actually eat in town that evening (there were some highly recommended spots in downtown). I kid you not - 10 minutes being at our campsite, I noticed the first deer! I was SO excited! On our way into town (just a five min drive) we saw our first elk! ASTOUNDED! So we ate some pizza (tbh, I can't even remember the restaurant we stayed at) and headed back to our site!
No joke - on our way back - we got stuck in the middle of a herd of 40 elk.
We FREAKEEEEDD out. Coolest thing we had ever seen. The pictures don't even do it justice - its one of those moments we will never forget. Just with that experience alone, we had deemed the trip the best. BUT everything can't always be perfect though right? Once we had gotten back to the site, Mike had learned that half a bottle of alcohol had gotten all over his clothes. We completely forgot about pressures and elevation - so of course we spaced on the fact that things might explode once we got into Colorado. Thankfully I had noticed a laundry mat in town so after a cold evening (bundled up REAL good) we spend the next morning doing his laundry! No big deal though, we ended up having breakfast in town which was nice as well.
Before we headed to do laundry though - Another OUT OF THIS WORLD thing happened to us. Basically - Mike became a deer whisperer.
While I was taking a shower (thankfully the campsite had showers!!) Mike had somehow found himself hand feeding deer. Yes - they literally just walked up to him and basically begged him for food. Thankfully when I got back to our site - I was able to capture it all!
He had coaxed them with summer sausage - and of course they didn't want that (cause they're herbivores DUH) and they didn't want the potato chips, so eventually Mike just led them down to our car and offered them dried banana chips. Da banana chips were major key. Somehow in a matter of minutes we had a bunch of other campers hand feeding the deer and petting them! Such kind creatures that weren't afraid of us at all! Apparently those particular deer had been doing that for years - so of course they would just haggle the campers for some good food!
Our campsite had a couple of hiking trails out of it - so we decided to try (emphasis on try) to hike.
SO here is us on top of a hill cliff thing. Thatsssssss as far as we (more like me) made it. 9000 ftelevation hit me in the lungs hard, and I just really didn't want to pass out and go crazy on Mike. So we opted to drive to some views. We decided to head over to Grand Lake - which was in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Another thing I learned - Rocky Mountain National Park is a legit park. The kind were you actually have to pay to get in to ($20 if you were curious). Also, there are very twisty turny roads that are v scary.
There are really narrow roads, so I honestly didn't take a lot of pictures while we were driving. I'm a scary cat - so I like to be focused. ( I know know - stupid silly Elena.)
Again, one of the coolest things we have ever done. We eventually made it to the top of the mountain (Alpine cliff or something? 12,000 ft elevation) and decided to head back down because it had taken a couple of hours to make it that far anyway.
So we made some steak and beans at our campsite, and slept there for the night again.
The next morning we had gotten up really early (encountered the deer again - this time the whole fam fam came along) and made our way to Colorado Springs. Fun fact : I spent the year after highschool in Colorado Springs for worship school. Thus the reason for going down there was to go to New Life Church that morning for service. Lets just say I was beyond blessed, and that experience ill have to talk about in another post.
The next couple of days in Colorado were mostly spent with family and friends. I didn't really take a whole lot of pictures on my camera, but we just focused on spending quality time with loved ones. On our last full day there - we ended up going into the mountains again and visited my boss who lives near Vail! What a COOL area - again, didn't really take pictures. Tuesday the 12th we headed back on the road to Minneapolis (a brutal 13 hour drive) and made it home safely.
Overall, Colorado was the vacation that my husband and I needed. We needed a change in our schedules to experience something different and exciting. The breath taking views, encounters with wildlife and fellowship with family all made a big dent in my soul that rejuvenated me. This trip fueled me to see beyond my every day work life and know there is SO much more out there and what can be experienced! I hope that I can visit Colorado in the near future again.
Hopefully you enjoyed! Thanks for reading! My next upcoming planned trip is Los Angeles in a couple weeks! I will let you know how that goes!