We have wanted to take the kids west for a while, but that is a daunting trip to plan. Finally, with a reliable vehicle and some unused vacation time, we bit the bullet and decided this would be the year. Our trip would involve seeing three sets of aunts and uncles and 12 states in 10 days. Here we go...
After driving through Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, our first night we stayed in the Kansas City area, where we were supposed to connect with Matt's aunt and uncle. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, we ended up not seeing them, but had a nice dinner with Matt's cousin Rachel and her new husband Alex.
Kansas is easily the most boring part of the trip. Miles and miles of nothing.
We ran into a bit of car trouble with our new van - a factory defect that caused a high-pitched whistle at high speeds in hot weather. A little dealer shop in no-man's-land Kansas patched up the problem with masking tape, since they didn't have the product to repair it. We were grateful for their help.
Later on Day 2 we crossed into Colorado, where we would be spending the majority of our time.
It was fascinating to see the old abandoned homesteads along the way.
Upon arriving in Denver, we located a pizza place called Fat Sully's. The 26" pizza seems huge, but we managed it.
The girls doing an admirable job on slices as big as their torsos
As we started over the mountain from Denver, we came across this little bison viewing area in a beautiful setting.
The snow-capped Rockies loomed over our route.
We stopped along the interstate at this little scenic viewing area.
First family picture with the selfie stick of the vacation.
(The first of many to come.)
Dad & Essie
Here we are entering the Glenwood Canyon - last leg of Day 3's journey.
After lunch in Glenwood Springs, we drove back into the canyon to do our first hiking at over a mile altitude.
Heed the caution - yes, the trail was difficult. Over a mile up the canyon sides over rough terrain
Heading up the trail to Hanging Lake
Chloe found a perfect rock for resting with her feet up.
Dad & Mom keeping a brave face (as their lungs turn wrong-side-out in their chests).
Mom & Chloe
Sisters whose favorite thing when hiking is to find a rock nook to climb into.
All the snowmelt runoff made for some beautiful mountain streams throughout our trip.
Chloe & Mom
We're more than halfway there!
Beautiful view back over Dead Horse Gulch - the route through which we've climbed
And finally, after about a mile and a half of mostly-straight-uphill hiking...the beautiful Hanging Lake
Apparently, Hanging Lake got its name because it is "hanging" off the canyon cliffs.
Just above Hanging Lake is Spouting Rock, which produces the water that fills the lake and spills down Dead Horse Gulch.
Chloe enjoying the spray
That night we were some weary travelers, so we went into Glenwood Springs and ate some good buffalo burgers at this little local food joint.
Not a bad view from the door to your hotel room