Sunday, July 8, 2012
From the Black Hills to the chilly Rockies
Since I didn't have a chance to blog yesterday, here's a brief Saturday update. We started the day much like we do at home—Gail went running, then I went for a bike ride, while the boys took advantage of their last opportunity to play with their Louisiana friends. I just love how kids are naturally so good at cutting to the chase and playing together like old friends after just meeting for the first time.
We headed out to Jewel Cave for a picnic lunch and an adventurous lantern tour, which required a lot of crawling and ducking into narrow passageways. The boys loved their caving experiences, as did Gail and I. Jewel is a breathing cave, which means that if there's a low pressure system coming, you feel a rush of air entering the cave, and if a high pressure system is coming, air comes rushing out of the cave. A storm was brewing, so we experienced quite an incoming wind throughout our tour, which brought us into some huge chambers.
The rest of the day was consumed with laundry duty and packing for the trip to Colorado the next morning. It was sad to leave the Black Hills, but there's so much more adventure to come! Everyone contributed nicely to the packing efforts, and we were able to hit the road by 7:15 this morning.
The trip between the Black Hills and Rocky Mountain National Park is fascinating. There is so much geographical change, and I loved how we descended into wide open grasslands with giant buttes with no tree in sight, then drove through rolling hills and up to the high plains as we crossed the Wyoming/Colorado border. We stopped for groceries in Fort Collins, and were really taken by the charming downtown and the little bungalow-style houses. It seems like a great city to visit, and it reminded me a little of Minneapolis for some reason.
We climbed up to the park in misty rain, and we were all wowed by the views along the way. I had no idea how big a city Estes Park is, so we have plenty of options if we get rained out during our stay here. Tomorrow we'll be seeking out a fairly ambitious hike, so it's time to retire to the tent and pull on some woolies. Brrrrr!