Monday, August 17, 2015

Yoo 679 - Estes Park Family Reunion, Pt 3

The last of Colorado! I'm trying not to forget everything but it's been almost a month. Memory fails.

But you see that picture up there? I wish I could apparate right to that spot for lunch breaks every day.

The elk were all over the grounds at our hotel every morning. Fun to watch. Slightly related, my Uncle Ray brought peppered elk jerky that was just awesome...

We went on a hike up to Emerald Lake in the morning, past Dream Lake and maybe Nymph Lake? It was crowded but gorgeous. There are few times I'm happier than when I'm in beautiful places with my camera.

Also, bonding with my dad thru our shared stubbornness. Love you dad!

My mom, Aunt Shawna, and I walked into town that afternoon because we could. And I needed to prove that I can do shopping. Well, on the way there this nice elk head popped out of the grass unexpectedly. Hi buddy! I'm so glad it wasn't a snake. When my mom first drew attention to it she was using her snake voice so my initial reaction was quite startled.

And my favorite parts of that excursion included the zebra rock at the rock shop (no picture!) and the Images of Rocky Mountain National Park photo gallery. Absolutely stunning pictures. I aspire.

Watching a shot glass take form.

I was going to get one of these for my "minion" at work who was taking care of business while I was away. But then, $50. He told me the picture was souvenir enough. Nice minion.

And probably my favorite part of the reunion: four-wheeling with Brynnan! It's about the greatest stress release I have experienced to date....once I had the nerve to be the driver. I was so scared I was going to wreck it! Not to mention, the last time I four-wheeled with these cousins my foot got run over. But no one remembers this except for me? I had a scar! This is what blogs are for. So the details of important family tragedies get immortalized before time robs them of their truthfulness and impact. Unfortunately I did not keep a blog as a toddler and now my story has no clout.

Anyways, four-wheeling was a blast. At one point we were barreling down some lost forest road when we started passing trees with threatening signs.




And other such cordialities. We turned around straight quick until Uncle Ray assured us that that only applied if we went off the road.

I'm glad we made it past that point because the most fun was definitely after the signs.

Brynnan was the brave one who went sans helmet. Even with me driving! And told me important things like "probably should wear pants so your legs don't burn off" AFTER we got up there and I had nothing but shorts. Thankfully we improvised with some stray sweaters and my legs remained intact.

My favorite part of this picture is Uncle Zane trekking off to the "restroom" in the background.

And let me not forget how sore my thumb was from pushing the gas forever.

Adam almost got the ATV stuck here.

Surprise surprise! A video! Lower your expectations before you press play...

He thought he was pretty cool when he got the "Legend" Coke.

And now, for the ACTUAL BEST part of the day: I SAW A BEAR.

Here's proof:

Wait. You don't see it? Look real close. Right at the center of the picture. See the approximately 5 black pixels there? Total bear butt.

There we were, just a driving along the highway, when all of a sudden I spotted a bear meandering thru the trees just down from the road. AND NO ONE BELIEVED ME. I made two vehicles turn around while Adam and I sprinted back up the road to prove I was right. And I was. The bear was a ways off then, but he looked at us like "Do I have the energy to attack stupid humans today?" Long pause as he stared at us. "No." And with that he ducked off into the depths of the forest. But not before I obviously got this National Geographic of a photo.

Ok, not the coolest bear story ever.

A happier moment before a sad "broke the jack" moment...

And trying to save a parking spot for Uncle Ray.

Let me not forget the pizzas that Aunt MaryAnn made for dinner that night! I have never. Tasted any pizza better. Than Brynnan's pizza. It was make-your-own pizzas and I cut ahead of Brynnan but I should have gone right after her because SHE DID IT RIGHT. I can't even remember what was on it. Maybe some pesto? And the white sauce? It was so good. And then a "balsamic vinegar reduction" to go on top. That phrase is almost too fancy for this blog but heaven help me that stuff belongs on all pizza.

Also not pictured is me and Adam and Brynnan fully clothed in the hot tub. We didn't want to walk alllllllll the way back to our room to get our swimsuits so we decided we didn't need them. Instead, it was way better to hot tub in our clothes and then have to walk back across the parking lot in bathrobes.

I think that's the rest of the highlights.

The only casualties of the trip were the water bottle and sun hat case I left in my parent's car. And the ALMOST $450 Southwest voucher I got for giving up my seat. If that darn couple would have shown up to the gate on time, this gal would've been a little richer and bumped to a direct flight a bit later that evening.

But noooooo. They took their sweet time and instead I got stuck between two large people and still had to hang out in Houston for a couple hours.

Bygones. I still got $50 for giving up my boarding position.

Have a great day :-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Yoo 678 - Blue Moon at Colorado Bend State Park

Smil and I went camping at Colorado Bend State Park this past weekend. Her time here is almost up and I need to enjoy her company while I can! Plus, blue moon.

Unfortunately, the best part of the weekend I can't even write about but it had something to do with fire. Maybe.

Changing the subject.

I liked this cloud. It would be fun to fly around.

This chicken is my favorite camp meal right now.


It was super hot. The air was thick and unmoving. Which made for a miserable night. Especially with a furnace, aka pups, in the tent. I sent him over to sleep with Dylan cause I'm nice like that...

We did eventually get to sleep but it didn't cool off until around four in the morning so it was anything but comfortable. But we were under a tree and I caught glimpses of the full moon thru the branches. It wasn't the worst night to be sleeping outside.

This deer buddy came right up to our campsite begging for food in the morning. Roscoe handled that real well.

Gorman Falls was unexpectedly awesome. I had no idea what it looked like until we got there. Plus we arrived just as the sun was coming up and the light was amazing. I did my best to capture it with no tripod and had so much fun. Walk 100 meters back up the trail and you're in boring Texas desert. The tiny rainforest is just such a pleasant surprise.

This lizard scampered out next to me on a rock while I was framing a shot. Scared the daylights out of me...

"I'm ready to pull Dylan all the way back to the car!"

Our campsite's shade tree. It was so tangly.

Here pups is thinking, "Sit down, let me tell you the story of the worst weekend of my life. It started yesterday and it continues still...."

Dog missed his air conditioning all weekend. Didn't believe me when I explained to him that some dogs don't get to live in air conditioning.

Afternoon nap in the tent to end the weekend on a high note. Then singing along to country songs on the way home.

Pups stirred from his slumber in the backseat right as we were in the drive-thru at Whataburger for the post-camp meal like, "Did nobody order me a bacon cheeseburger??"

He has such a hard life.

Have a great day :-)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Yoo 677 - Estes Park Family Reunion, Pt 2

This day of the reunion brought a morning rafting trip and an afternoon drive/hike along the Peak to Peak highway. It might have also brought Aunt Mary Ann's biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Her cooking the whole week just mocked self-control.

We met at the outfitters at 8:30 am and stood around for ages, praying the temperature got warmer. It wasn't a Texas furnace outside so I never did get to the point where I wanted an icy cold rapid to splash me. But it wasn't as shocking as I was expecting. Everyone had a lot of fun and it was a highlight of the trip.

"Mad Dog", our guide. He asked us on a scale of 1-10 how exciting of a trip we wanted and I quickly blurted out "NINE". Meaning, everyone falls out of the boat except for me.

In the end no one fell out of the boat but it was a good ride.

Practicing our paddling.

Adam and I sat up front and were supposed to look at each other to coordinate each paddle so the rest of the group would be in sync but we weren't the best at it...

Adam really hit it with the facial expressions. He was 95% of the reason we bought some of their pictures.

Like this one.

I think this was after "Sonic Boom". It didn't look like much until you hit it and ended up on top of each other. They warned us about knocking teeth out with the paddles and I couldn't get that horrific thought out of my mind...

We survived!

I didn't feel cold while rafting, but sitting in wet clothes for the 45-minute bus ride back chilled me to the core. Everyone made fun of me walking around in my hooded down jacket after but I honestly could not take that thing off for a couple hours.

Lily Lake.

Funny story. I was hiking behind my mom when all of a sudden she went into her snake dance: jumping up and down, arms firmly planted at her side, yelling "SNAKE SNAKE SNAKE". I froze and then I saw the snake. It was at least four feet long and as thick as a healthy man's forearm.

Mom, don't read this part.

Ok, the snake was really about the size of a pencil. A small pencil.

Mom, you can read again.

It slithered right off the trail and we continued on but I don't think either of us enjoyed the trip quite as much once realizing that snake sightings were a possibility. Having to keep your eyes plastered on the trail and immediate surround makes it harder to stare at the grandeur of the mountains.

I thought this shirt was so appropriate for my dad but he just rolled his eyes.

An evening walk, which we convinced Adam to go on with promises of elk sightings. Only there were no elk. Brynnan told me about the "vacationator".  We both kept racing to not be at the back because that's the first person to be eaten by mountain lions. And Adam fake flipping me off for taking a picture.

Have a great day :-)