Having the summer to settle into our new home state, we have enjoyed the closeness to our various family members by extending an open invitation to visit.
Our favorite new stomping grounds are the Rocky Mountain National Park. After many visits, we have begun to feel like we are quite the tour guides.
My sweet mother in law had done her homework though. She wasn’t content to just cruise through the park and local towns.
She wanted to see a waterfall that was literally up the peak of the mountains and down the other side. Being game, we set off. The weather was cool for a summer day and the higher we climbed, the cooler it got.
We continued to climb, reaching an easy two miles above sea level. We were literally walking among the clouds when we got out at an overlook. The wind was whipping and the chill in the air drove us back to the truck quickly.
I climbed back inside and checked the temp on the truck... a balmy 37 degrees. It boggles the mind to find that the temperature can drop so fast but as we trucked our way up the mountain top, it would.
Winding up so high that the trees couldn’t breathe. The grounds covered with brush above the tree line. Then back down the other side where the bull elk lay sunning themselves alongside the edge of the road as we wound amongst the trees.
Lodge poll pines... so straight and true they have been used for hundreds of years for building homes. They grow so tall and plentiful in the protected environment of the park.
We would wind our way down till we reached Grand Lake. A jewel nestled deep in the Rockies. It’s like stepping back in time. The downtown area nestled with specialty shops and boardwalks. In the peak of summer, everyone wearing a outer layer of warmth.
We dodged the boys and skipped through quite a few shops... admiring the art that is only offered at the ski and resort level towns.
I can’t afford a $1,200 copy of a painting that I fell in love with but I can sleep better knowing that the original sold for $18 grand and the copies are only sold in Taos, Telluride and Aspen. I’ll just enjoy the memory and move on.
I may have reverse snob tendencies. I’ll pray about that.
However while shopping, I overheard the very best conversation between a customer and the store owner. Turns out that her immediate neighbor was a very famous sitcom guy. A huge conservative that proudly flaunts his position.
The store owner was thoroughly enjoying her tale of what a horrible person this man was “off-screen” and while she was indifferent to the politics of a person... she just wasn’t a fan. It’ll be a long day before I buy anything in that store.
After leaving the harpies den, we headed further up the lake to the staging grounds for the hike to the waterfall.
According to her phone, my mother-in-law estimated that we would be .3 miles from the waterfall. So we locked the truck and started up.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m in horrible shape and having already hiking several trails here I Colorado... I was fully aware of what we were getting into.
At the trailhead, I started stretching to the amusement of everyone else. But that would pay off, as we started to immediately climb in altitude. 1/3 of a mile is a long way when you are gaining 350 in altitude along the way.
I volunteered to go ahead when the group faltered. No one was there was see my agony as I climbed and climbed... finally to break free to a waterfall that was littered with fallen trees. It went on for miles it seemed... from high above, splashing and weaving its way down the mountainside.
I got as many pictures as I could for everyone who didn’t make it up there. Then I turned back to start the long wheezing and agonizing decent when I saw him... he’d sent his parents on to the truck and came after me. My steadfast wingman.
Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Dividing her time between Grand Lake and Colorado, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.