They’re calling for rain again, but that doesn’t seem to be something we can avoid. We hope it will hold off until late in the day, as it did yesterday, and we head south and then west, toward Estes Park and the Rocky Mountains.
I’ve seen the Rocky Mountains before… in Canada. I took a rail tour through one autumn a few years back, and truly loved it. So I was not surprised at how much my parents did, too. I was a little surprised, and unhappily so, that I wasn’t more struck by them. After all, so many people on my Canadian tour were so emphatic that if I loved the Canadian Rockies (which I did) I should totally see them in Colorado where they were even more magnificent.
This is what I have decided: whatever you see first becomes your standard, and nothing lives up to your first experience of the mountains. Either way, the mountains are beautiful, and stunning, and breathtaking. It’s just a matter of what you see first.
So that said, we drove up into Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). At every chance the nieces (who truly tried not to whine about the drive, bless their hearts) got out and climbed and clambered up every rockface they could (and a few they ought not to have). There was one place where The Eldest climbed up a set of rocks that were easily three times taller than I am (and in a blink too) and was headed down the back of them out of my sight while I yelled for her to WAIT and NOT GO WHERE I CAN’T SEE HER… just as her dad got to the rocks and yelled for both of them to freeze until he could get up there. They were actually pretty significant rocks and their Dad had to herd them back down (carefully, please). But my goodness, they can both climb like anything and the Eldest has absolutely no fear of heights nor any of the vertigo that affects me; it makes me think she’d do well in construction someday. Or, you know, climbing mountains or something. Meanwhile the Youngest is busy climbing and telling me interesting facts she’s learned (no doubt from her dad either on previous trips to the park or in a lesson in advance of this visit); our little Scientist-in-the-Making.
We see deer and elk in abundance, and a mountain goat. There are wildflowers and wild grasses and trees and snow in thick blankets above the treeline. There are little girls smiling and laughing and playing with the new stuffed animals (baby tuktu) purchased just before we reach the Continental Divide.
It is a good day.