Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Colorado River

We took a fantastic canoe trip for Matt's 40th birthday, paddling from Fruita, CO to Westwater, UT, through the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. Highlights were bald eagles, a river otter, four bighorn sheep sightings (including a large group overlooking our campsite in the evening), clear skies for stargazing, and amazing rock formations.

At a distance of 30 miles in 3 days, it was a pretty relaxed trip. In fact, we broke up our time in the canoe with a lot of rock-scrambling, including a challenging but incredibly rewarding hike up Rattlesnake Canyon to a group of large rock arches. We couldn't believe we only saw 2 other people in that amazing place. On Labor Day!

We took way too many pictures. So here's a slideshow. Click here to watch a full-screen version, or click on the triangle below to play it here.

Want to follow in our wake? We rented from Catfish Canoe Company in Grand Junction -- run by a nice guy named Henry who actually hails from PG County, Maryland. He loves the river and was very helpful in planning our trip from afar. Tell him we sent you!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Estes Park

It's the end of August, and Elizabeth's parents are renting a house in Estes Park, CO: sounds like a good excuse for a vacation.

Heading west from Denver, we stopped very briefly at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, which is co-owned by the parents of a friend of ours.

Once we hit Estes Park, we followed a rigorous hiking schedule through the mountainous terrain...okay, not so rigorous every day, but there were some steep and windy hikes in there, mixed with beautiful views.

As always, we also did our fair share of critter watching. The deer were out on Deer Mountain...

and the elk were out in...Beaver Meadows?

We also got everyone picking berries -- huckleberries:

alpine wintergreen:

and mountain gooseberries: