We woke up this morning to an amazing view. The red rocks almost glowed red with the sunrise. Everybody slept well and we got an early start. We decided to hike for a bit in Arches National Park. 4 words: in. cred. i. ble! Pictures can't capture the complete majesty of this place! We learned a lot about the formations of the arches while we were there and hiked to a couple of them. While on these hikes we realized we are sea-level folks and the elevation really affects us! It was well worth all the huffing and puffing to get to the top and see the arches up close.
We wanted to stay there all day, but knew we needed to get on our way to Colorado. What a difference a day (and a different state) makes! The temperature kept dropping as we got closer and closer to Colorado. While we had 114* yesterday through the desert, today we saw it drop to 56* as we climbed the Rockies. We drove through a rainstorm with lots of lightning, but were quickly back to dry weather and enjoying the beautiful scenery. We were up to 10,600 ft in elevation and were right at the timberline, where trees stop growing from the high elevation. Pretty incredible!
We pulled off in Glenwood Springs to go visit the Linwood Cemetery, where Doc Holliday is buried. It was quite a steep hike up the hill to the old cemetery, but what a beautiful view! It was very peaceful up there on that hill and we were the only (living) souls there. We found Doc Holliday's gravesite and Mr. John pulled out a set of cards to play a hand of 5 card draw with Doc. As Mr. John dealt the cards, thunder started rolling, then when he turned over the cards, lightning started flashing across the sky. When Mr. John announced that his hand had won, it started raining big, fat drops and gusts of fine sand came blowing through the empty cemetery. The blowing sand got so thick, it looked like a blanket of fog through the gravestones. It was an eerie sight. I told Mr. John that Doc was not happy he'd lost and wanted a chance to even up the score!
As we hiked back down the trail, the gusts of sand and wind were so intense and our eyes and mouths were full of sand. We went down the narrow path as fast as we could through the blinding dust, that immediately let up as we reached the bottom. I'm not very superstitious, but if you ever hike up to Linwood Cemetery, and you feel the need to play a little 5 card draw with Doc... Let him win...
While we enjoyed the beauty of Vail, we really fell in love with the charming mining towns that were tucked into the sides of the canyon and along the Colorado River. Remnants of old mining shafts and mills still cling to the sides of the mountains.
We got to our campsite at Chief Hosa Lodge and had to quickly settle in because we heard the roll of thunder once again. We experienced real trailer camp neighbor hospitality when one of our tools broke. Our pop up trailer neighbors quickly came to our rescue and helped us not only with the tool, but invited us to come in their trailer to wait out the rain and then helped us put up our tent and give us lots of helpful tips.
For dinner, we decided to drive the 20 minutes in to Denver. We'd seen Andrew Zimmern's (Food Network) show featuring an authentic Mexican restaurant and we decided to try it out. Several tripe, tongue, and cheek tacos later, we were all stuffed, but couldn't pass up the flan for dessert. (I opted for chile rellenos and only had a bite of the cheek taco, while Mr. John and Sage were more adventurous).
We had to beat the clock as we found out the showers took quarters and we had a very limited supply. Bailey and Sage won the race by getting their shower done with 1 quarter. It was hilarious. I think we'll get some more quarters so they can enjoy a luxurious 2 minute shower next time. Now everyone is snuggled into their sleeping bags. Time for me to join them!