Colorado Trip
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just got back from a very nice trip to Colorado.  My aunt and uncle invited us to visit them at their home in Ridgway, which is nestled at the foot of the San Juan Mountains in the Rockies.  It's absolutely gorgeous.  I took lots of photos, which I will post soon.

Getting there was a bit of a challenge.  Plane tickets to Montrose were over $600 apiece, so in the final evaluation we decided to drive.  We started out on Wednesday, headed north on Interstate 15, and stopped in Cedar City, Utah for the night.  Thursday we continued on, and headed west on I-70...Utah has some very pretty scenery up through the mountains, west of Fremont Junction.  At Grand Junction we took US-50 down to Montrose, then proceeded south on US-550 to Ridgway.  Ridgway is a beautiful little town (population 760), with a spectacular view of the mountains.

Thursday evening my brother arrived from Nashville, where he was promoting his band, and we all had a pleasant time visiting.  My aunt and uncle are about the nicest people you'd ever want to meet.  On Friday, my brother and I went hiking, my aunt took my sister shopping, and my uncle took my mom for a scenic drive.  We had a relaxing afternoon, and then went over to the neighboring town of Ouray (population 800), for the fireworks show.  Ouray is in a valley surrounded on three sides by 13,000-foot peaks.  They shot off the fireworks from the mountainside, and the explosions echoed through the canyon like thunder.  It was very impressive.

Saturday was my sister's birthday; she was treated to a horseback ride in Wilson Mesa.  Afterwards, we went over to Mountain Village and took the gondola up to the ski resort where we had lunch.  We then took another gondola over the mountain to the resort town of Telluride.  Everything was just gorgeous.

Sunday we went to church in Ouray.  That afternoon, as a thunderstorm rolled in, we decided to postpone our departure until Monday morning, instead of trying to split the driving over 2 days.  Instead, we played games, and then went on another short hike.  It was such a wonderful time, no one wanted to think about leaving.

Monday we set out for home.  My mom had heard on the radio that I-15 was going to be closed down to one lane in Las Vegas due to construction, so we decided to drive home via Flagstaff.  The route through the San Juan Skyway was beautiful.  US-160 through Arizona was not much fun — just a 2-lane highway through barren desert with no passing lanes — but the Flagstaff area is fairly pretty.  The drive home took 14 hours.

I loved the trip.  The landscape was breathtaking.  I love the mountains, the forests, rivers, waterfalls, green pastures, red cliffs, blue sky, and puffy white clouds, as well as the lightning, thunder, and rain.  There was no shortage of wildlife.  We saw chipmunks, which were so cute:  an adult (smaller than I expected) and 2 babies; we saw magpies, which I've never seen before...they look like big crows with a white breast and white stripes on their wings. In the pond near my uncle's house we saw a great blue heron, Canadian geese, and red-wing blackbirds.  We heard meadowlarks (but didn't see any); we saw elk, deer, two marmots, a bald eagle, bunnies, and yaks (which were someone's livestock).  I also loved the small-town, rural community.  I hope someday I'll be able to live in a place like that myself.

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But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
— William Shakespeare
Hamlet, Act I, Scene 2