We were happy to have family visit us recently! Our nephew and his wife visited Colorado for the first time on vacation, and after visiting Vail and Avon, they spent the remaining time with us. After enjoying a day with our family here we spent the rest of the time sightseeing with them. Top on our list for things to do was to take a drive on the "Peak to Peak" highway to the town of Estes Park. The views along this highway are beautiful, and even more so in winter when the Rockies are covered with snow. I've blogged about this scenic highway before, which you can read on this post. In Estes we visited the historic Stanley Hotel for lunch. If you remember this past blog post, my husband and I saw a "ghost" there on an overnight visit we made for our anniversary a couple of years ago. Happily, did not see any ghosts on this visit, but our relatives were excited to see some large elk eating the grass in the hotel parking lot!
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After lunch, we took a ride into Rocky Mountain National Park. There we saw a large herd of elk in one of the meadows and lots of beautiful snow capped peaks, but surprisingly little snow at the lower elevations. The winter in Colorado has been unusually mild this year, and snowfall at the lower elevations has been below normal, although it has been fairly normal at the higher elevations. We've visited Rocky Mountain National Park many times since moving to Colorado--it holds a special place in our heart--and we were excited to show some of it to our family members.
This is the view we had from Horseshoe Park Overlook in the park--breathtaking, isn't it? No matter what the season, the park is wonderful to visit!
If you would like to read more details about Rocky Mountain National Park on my blog you can click here for the eastern side of Trail Ridge Road, and here for the Roof of the Rockies, and here for the western side of Trail Ridge Road. I also have a post about Rocky Mountain National Park in autumn, which you can see here.
The next day we headed south from the Denver area towards Colorado Springs. It is always exciting to see Pike's Peak from the highway. We had hope to take the cog railroad or even drive up the 14,115 foot (4.302252 km) high Pike's Peak--called "America's Mountain--but the railroad is closed during the months of January and February to the peak, and only runs on weekends to Inspiration Point. Because of snow pack, the road was also closed past a certain point. So this trip we could only take in the mountain views from the ground.
To see a drive we took up to the summit of Pikes Peak in the summer click here.
We did visit the beautiful Garden of the Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs, comprised of giant red rock formations that were created during a geological upheaval along a fault line millions of years ago.
We enjoyed driving and hiking through the park on a wonderfully mild weather afternoon. We hiked up to the "Siamese Twins" formation to take some photos.....
...and also the 700 ton "Balanced Rock" formation!
To see more photos from Garden on the Gods from a trip we made during the summer, click here.
We also had time to visit Manitou Springs, a small scenic town located at the base of Pikes Peak, and known for its natural mineral springs. There we had fun tasting the mineral water that flows freely into eight public fountains in town, and looking at the shops and historic buildings in the area. I will show more about these springs on a future blog post.
Among other fun places, and things, that we did together with our nephew and niece-in-law was to visit the outdoor Red Rocks Amphitheater--where they returned the next morning to do a work out climbing up and down the stairs! We also drove into Denver to see some sights and to have dinner. It was a wonderful visit, and we now miss them dearly. It was so nice to spend time again with extended family members, and we hope more of our family will come to visit us soon!
Before I leave I wanted to share some photos of our oldest granddaughter's 4th birthday party. She had a party at a famous mouse party place where there are a lot of rides and fun games to play, and a wonderful time was had by all. It's hard to believe how fast our grandchildren are growing up, but we are certainly enjoying every moment with them.
Spring will soon be here and that often means snow showers for us on the Front Range of Colorado, that will bring wildflowers in June. I'm looking forward to longer daylight, more outdoor fun and seeing our flowers grow. What are you looking forward to in Spring?
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