When I found out Greg and I were expecting a tiny bundle of joy this fall, I started thinking about what we could do for one last child-free vacation. Don’t get me wrong, we are SO thrilled to welcome Tristan into our family – in fact we’ve been praying for this blessing for some time! I just knew that there’s a big difference between taking a vacation when you’re just a couple, and taking a vacation with a baby or toddler. Plus, I really wanted to take the opportunity to strengthen our marriage and create great memories to get us through some of the exhausting months coming up. ;) With a limited budget and tricky work schedule, we decided that camping was the way to go! I grew up camping and loved the adventure of it all, so I was stoked.
On the morning we left, there was this cool belt of clouds around Pikes Peak :) Look how much snow is still up there! It was Memorial Day weekend and nice and warm in town, but not so much in the mountains.
I have no idea what mountain this is but it was just majestic! The first campsite we tried was completely full, so we ended up driving around Pike National Forest for awhile before we were able to find a place to pitch our tent.
It was raining a little bit, but that didn’t stop me from building a campfire and making dinner! The rain stopped for a few minutes while I built it, thankfully. Unfortunately since it had been raining for a couple hours, most of the available kindling was wet! We brought our own firewood but couldn’t make kindling from it because apparently brand new hatchets are sold with a very, very dull blade. Who knew? Anyway, I found enough bitty twigs under a massive pine tree, to get this bad boy going.
When we tried to make pigs in blankets over the fire, the rain caused the crescent roll to slide right off the hot dog and into the coals! We were cracking up. We ended up taking turns roasting hot dogs over a small cold fire, and eating under the hatch door of our CR-V. We used our only tarp to create some privacy around our latrine, so the only outdoor shelter we had was our open car hatch! After a few barely-warm hot dogs, we called it a night.
To my surprise and great discomfort, air mattresses feel 100% different when I’m pregnant. I think I woke up every 30-60 minutes alllllll night long, in pain and uncomfortable. It was also around 30 degrees so my toes were a little nippy! I don’t know how well Greg slept but it couldn’t have been that well since his bed mate was flopping around all night.
In the morning, we had breakfast burritos! We made 10 ahead of time and froze them, which not only kept them fresh but helped keep our cooler of food nice and cold. At first we tried warming them on top of the grate I brought, but they barely got warm! And yes – it was raining again. Finally I just tossed them onto the coals and they were delicious. :)
Let me tell you a little something about camping and coffee. Coffee is EXTRA important after a cold sleepless night – but it’s also very difficult to make! We brought a percolator and I read the directions ahead of time. Grounds in basket, water in pot, bring to boil… easy! Well, the only stove we had was a little sterno stove which apparently does NOT get as hot as a propane stove. Again, who knew! The water steamed a bit but never boiled. My next plan of attack was to boil water in a pot over the grate and pour it through the grounds. That didn’t work either because it filled up the basket of grounds and didn’t want to drip through in a timely fashion. Finally we stuck the percolator down on the coals right alongside the burritos.
One way or another, we got our coffee! We drank it in the car since it was STILL RAINING.
Greg was so happy to have some coffee! …. even if there were some grounds in the bottom of the cup. Oops!
We decided to try for a hike if we could find a spot where it wasn’t raining. We went over some quite treacherous mountain roads (good job, Greg!) and started our hike. Ten minutes later, it started hailing! Tiny little hailstones, like dippin’ dots. Except not as much fun. We went back to camp and sat in the car for a bit to see what the weather would do.
This was our lovely view as we waited for the rain to stop. It finally stopped raining…
… and started snowing! Not cool! We sat in the tent for a bit and discussed our options. We decided that since I was so very uncomfortable sleeping on the air mattress, and it was scheduled to rain for the next several days, we would cut our camping trip short. Or, to put it another way… we’re just so good at camping, we got it all done in 24 hrs!
Do you ever feel like you’re just not up to the task? Haha! This poor stake. Greg says next time we camp, he’s bringing “real” stakes.
At least the view was lovely! On the way out of town we stopped in Jefferson at our new favorite coffee shop, “The Pony Espresso”. The owner was so friendly, and let us play cards while we sipped our coffee for awhile.
The clouds were so low they were in the trees!
“Look, blue sky! Let’s go that way!”
We ended up getting a hotel in Highland Ranch in Littleton. We got one with a kitchenette so we could eat all that food I had packed! It was a great hotel, and I slept much better. ;)
In the morning we googled “Free things to do in Denver” and found Washington Park! It was a gorgeous park and we walked around a little lake. I loved all of the birds!
A little boy surrounded by goslings – adorable!! The goslings were so fuzzy. <3
We found some ducklings too!
There were a couple of these in the middle of the lake. Clearly solar panels, but… what do they power? We never found out!
These guys didn’t really care what the solar panels were for, they just liked their own personal island.
Sweet flicker, framed by the tree!
Also, super cool house. :)
We went to Cherry Creek Mall that day as well. The next day we decided to take a free tour of Celestial Seasonings, which is my favorite herbal tea brand. Their factory is in Boulder, for the whole country!
This is us in the gift shop :) You can’t see it but we’re holding our favorite tea – Sugar Plum Spice. It’s only sold seasonally in stores, but they had several shelves of it at the shop! The tour was really neat. They store the mint leaves separate from all of the other herbs in a closed room because mint is so strong it would permeate the other herbs. When they opened the mint room door, the smell was overpowering! I went inside and my eyes stung from the strong fumes. After awhile I started smelling alfalfa instead of mint. Crazy!
We got to spend a night with our good friends in Broomfield. They are from Nepal, and Sunita used to live with my family for a couple of years. I hadn’t seen them in about seven years so it was great to catch up!
By the end, we were on our fifth game plan and almost nothing went the way we expected. But we both have a good sense of humor, especially with each other, and we had a lot of fun! My goal was to connect with each other and have an adventure, and we definitely accomplished that. :)