Thursday, April 24, 2014

We Took a Trip

I went to the mountains, y'all!

I haven't traveled out of Texas much in my life.  Not nearly as much as I'd have liked to.  For one, I'm afraid to fly.  {I know, I know...}  So that kind of limits things.  But I'm working on it.  Secondly, time and money are always an issue.  But I have been lucky enough to visit a few places I'd always wanted.

Like the mountains.  Didn't really matter which.  Living in South Texas for nearly all my life, I've only ever really experienced flat, sand-based land, with the occasional rolling hill.  Living in the Hill Country for a few years exposed me to hills that seemed like mountains compared to my almost-sea-level "homeland."  But I've never really seen true mountains.

Until my 30th birthday.

Well, actually, a couple of days before, but you get the idea, haha.

By my hubby's sheer determination, we made the 2-day trek to Denver a few days before my birthday.  We decided to not do a straight drive and stopped over in Amarillo for the night on the first day.

And I'm super glad we did because on our way on Day 2, we spotted the Capulin Volcano in New Mexico, and I had. to. stop!

By the time we reached the volcano, we were looking at a snow shower blowing in, but we didn't care.   Well, maybe a little.  I think secretly both of these South Texans were a little worried about driving in the snow, haha!

But the volcano was amazing.  Not just because it was a volcano that I was on top of (!!!) but also because that's probably the highest I have been up until that point in my life, and it was so scary and exhilarating at the same time!  Words cannot even describe the view, and pictures certainly don't capture it, although I tried.

Down inside the volcano!!
Can you see our purple faces? haha!
As we climbed higher, the wind became harshly cold, and our fingers and noses started turning purple.  It. Was. Awesome!

We spent about an hour there, then decided to move on in our journey.  As we crossed into Colorado from New Mexico, we hit snow.  While a little scary at first to drive in, it was so, so beautiful.  I'm sure there are some of you who are sick to death of the snow, but as one who's has only seen it in real life less than the number of fingers on one hand, it was pretty amazing.

Definitely not in Texas anymore.  We don't have deer like that!
{I know, it's elk.}

We had to stop to play. (:

But the mountains took my breath away.  I'm sure my husband thought he was traveling with a 6-year-old for as giddy and excited as I was.  But I was just absolutely amazed.  I have never seen anything like them at all.

And again, pictures just cannot even begin to capture their majesty, their power, their ability to make you feel so small and so powerful at the same time.  I mean, you can't help but feel on top of the world when you are on top of the world, and yet the view makes you feel so insignificant.

We got lucky with a mountain-view room at our hotel in Denver, and the sunset behind the mountains was pretty incredible:

But the sunrise shining on the mountains in the morning was just A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

I won't bore you with all the details of our trip.  We explored Denver as much as we could in the two days we were there, which included a trip to the Molly Brown House Museum.  I love history, and have been a fan of this lady for as long as I've known the Titanic story, but we quickly learned there is much more to Margaret Brown than just the Titanic.  I highly recommend visiting her home if you are ever in Denver.  Sooooo different from the movie.

On Saturday, we made our way South to Buena Vista, Colorado, which was the true purpose for the trip.  We had a bit of time to kill on our way, so we stopped off for a couple of hours at The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  Such a cool place to wander around.

See the heart?

Although we were moving South, we were traveling higher up in elevation, higher up into the mountains.  We were smack-dab in the middle of the Rockies, and breathtaking isn't nearly a good enough word to describe the beauty around us.

I love the way the snow looks being blown off the mountaintop.

We made it to Buena Vista pretty late Saturday, so we weren't really aware of the scenery we were surrounded by until morning.  And, scenery, o my!

View from our room on Sunday morning!

And I thought I had a mountain view from my hotel room!

Yes, I had a ton of clothes on to keep warm!  I'm from Texas, haha!

On Sunday, we went panning for gold in the Arkansas River {in the snow}.  It was pretty awesome!

We did find a bit of gold in the sand, but it is so fine, it's hard to pick out.  They call it flour gold because it really is as fine as flour.  But we also found raw garnets which was way cool.

Sunday was also my mother-in-law's birthday, so after we warmed up from our gold expedition, we said a final good-bye to her atop a beautiful mountain with a view to be envious of.  It was a beautiful way to celebrate her birthday, and say "see you later."  

Good-byes are always hard when the heart is full of love.  And what I've learned is that that hurt never leaves you because that's what love does.  I think, at least for me, over time the hurt doesn't necessarily lessen, but it becomes a part of the love you felt.  The love and the hurt become something new and beautiful to remember your loss with.  It's ok to hurt because you had love.

We decided to head home that Sunday afternoon as well, which looking back, may not have been the best idea.  We were really exhausted -- which was part of the reason we wanted to head home a day early {go figure that logic, haha}, and by the time we reached our destination for the night -- Amarillo -- we were struggling hard to stay awake.  I think we had an angel in the passenger seat for sure!

But all in all, the trip was fantastic!  I am eager to go back, although only when it's warmer. he he  I don't do cold!  And as beautiful as the snow is, I prefer temps well above freezing!!

I will say, though, I'm glad I don't live here.  Not just for the cold {hehe} but because I wouldn't want to get used to the view.  I wouldn't want to look out my window and NOT be amazed.  Know what I mean?

And, had we flown, I would have missed some of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen.  ;)


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