Colorado Trip Part 2 and 3

Things have been a little hectic here on the farm over the last few months, so I’ve been really bad at blogging. I know I started my Colorado trip thoughts, so I definitely wanted to finish those.

We were in Steamboat Springs for a wedding. The town was quaint: it was a combination of artist hub with athletic training facilities all rolled together into some of the most beautiful natural settings I’d ever seen (and I’m from Ireland). Nestled in a brilliantly green valley, Steamboat Springs offered breathtaking views of the two mountains that surrounded it.

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We spent a good portion of our time at the Yampa River Botanical Gardens, where the wedding was going to take place. The Gardens were stunning, and broken down into a lot of mini gardens (like the “Healing Garden”, the “Blue Garden”, etc.). What really threw us off was that it was free to enter! Free! If you wanted to, you could donate, but you didn’t have to pay any sort of ticket cost. I guess when you live in a place with lots of water, you don’t have to worry about that kinda stuff.

When we weren’t hanging out there (getting ready, doing the rehearsal, having the wedding…we spent quite a bit in the Botanical Gardens. They were stunning. I have no complaints, and would recommend them to everyone!), we explored the town a bit. Of course we stopped by the local bookstore, . It was a given that we’d have to check it out, and it was a lot of fun. They have a great selection.

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We also went up to Fish Creek Falls, which were so beautiful. They were my first waterfall, and Dodola really enjoyed them, as well. We didn’t get too close, but from the distance we could see how large the falls were.

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Our trip up had taken 11 hours (we had some stops along the way), so we were pretty sure that heading back home would be at least that. For my person’s sister, we had to stop by Denver, which was a little out of our way, but made for an easy drive home. Along the way, we stopped to look at the mountains in Frisco, Colorado. Even in June, they had snow. It was such a majestic sight to see. We also stopped, very briefly, between Georgetown and Silver Plume to watch the train go by, and see Mountain sheep. We weren’t lucky with the sheep, but valley the train traveled through was stunning.

We had to main stops (really, we couldn’t pass these places up). The first was the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. New Mexico has some “wild west” history (we have Geronimo and Billy the Kid, after all), but our wild west is a little different than what the history books show. Stopping by Buffalo Bill’s grave was a great reminder of this. He was revolutionary for his time, a great horseman (which I was impressed with…the museum listed a lot of his horses. We made sure that Pecos, Chico, and Nez were there to take pictures with those highlights), was part of the Pony Express, was a Mason, and then had his show.

It was also nice to see that other members of his cast were highlighted, like Annie Oakley. In a male-dominated world, Annie Oakley took charge. She was an amazing shot.

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Outside of Denver, we stopped at the Garden of the Gods. The herd (much, much smaller back then) had stopped last August to see the stones, but the new herd hadn’t been there yet. The red rocks, truly against a green and blue background, were just as stunning as we could imagine them. We followed the trail around to get close to the rocks, which made for some interesting pictures. This was also where we had our first shoot with our newest herd members: Rama the tiger, Neptune the dragon, and Beo the Icelandic Pony.

Our trip home took 16 hours, but it was well worth it (my person slept for like a day and a half afterwards, though. Ha!). We stopped at the Hardrock Café in Denver, went through the Eisenhower Tunnel, saw Castlerock, and by the old west town of Kremmling. The drive might have taken forever, but it was well worth it. The history we learned, and natural scenery we saw, was astonishing, and something you can’t really learn in a plane.

Colorado Trip: Part 1

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I’m pretty sure that I promised this trip would be in two parts. I decided, this week, that it might be broken down into three parts: heading up, Steamboat Springs, heading back. The trip kinda broke down like that anyway (from what I could tell…most of the drive I was safely situated in the cup-holder).

By the way: can anyone see me in this picture? I’ll give you a hint: I’m at the bottom…

Anywho, we started a little late. I believe that every good road trip starts with a little hiccup, but we had a pretty smooth start, just a little late. Now, we were following Google’s instructions, which were a little different from going to Denver. Denver, I’m told, is pretty easy to get to: follow I-40 North. This was a little bit more of an adventure. We followed the back way up H-285, which was fantastic! We saw Galisteo, which is an awesome little town just north of Edgewood. We stopped by Camel Rock, the Rio Grand Rift, and the border between New Mexico and Colorado.

 

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The ride out was interesting. Most of those places we’d never gone (us ponies or my person), so we were seeing entirely new terrain. Northern New Mexico is an interesting combination of shrub-tree forests and plains. We had long stretches surrounded by shrub trees that, if taller, would have created archways above us. It’s amazing how we still felt like we were getting lost in a huge forest, even though at the top of the hills we could see forever.

Southern Colorado felt more like home. There were mountains and plains; that seemed to be the majority for awhile. As we left Antonio, in the distance we could see the Great Sand Dunes, which were desert like we’d never seen before, definitely not like our green desert. They were a little outside of our area, but it’s definitely something we’ll come back to. We did stop at the Colorado Gator Farm, though.

For anyone who hasn’t been to the Colorado Gator Farm, it’s a fantastic experience. (WARNING: there are large reptiles there, including snakes, lizards, and alligators. This is definitely not a place for someone who fears those kinds of animals, that’s for sure.) We actually started with meeting a gator called Joey, who was kind enough to let me rest on his back while my person held him (nothing like feeling I was on the back of a dinosaur: the proportions were WAY off!!!). Then we were inside: there were huge iguanas of every type (including a Rhinoceros Iguana, which really did look like a dino), turtles everywhere, and of course, gators! Some were close enough we could get pictures with. I got a picture with Morris the Gator, who is a movie star! Sita was also able to get a picture with albino gators, which we all thought was cool (the white tiger with the white gators).

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I also have to say that this is where we learned about Flat Stanley. Turns out, school kids have to take Flat Stanley around and have adventures with him. We didn’t actually see one, but we were asked if we were like him a lot. I’m hoping he’s a cool guy…

We were running a little late by this point (there was a theme, I’m telling you), so we didn’t stop too much going forward. We did find the most beautiful valley, though, and there we found the coolest thing: a monument to three towns, now long disappeared, and the site of the highest Masonic Lodge in the USA. The valley itself was picturesque, but just thinking that at one point there had been three settlements nestled in it was a strange and beautiful thought.

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That was the last place we stopped, apart from gas, because we had dilly-dallied a little too long and were now running really late. It turns out that there was a check-in time for the place we were staying, and it was getting too close. So we hurried along in the dark, traveling on windy roads through pitch-black forests, until, finally, in the distance, we could see lights. We came down a mountain and found ourselves in Steamboat Springs.