Last week we went camping for a few days and we met a family while we were hiking. We started talking to them and the littlest boy announced, "we're on our epic trip!" His father explained that each year when the kids get out of school, they do a camping trip for a few days, to a different spot. We told them that we do the same, every spring, and the little boy said, "And do you call it the epic trip too?!" But we call ours the adventure trip! We pick a starting point, camp there for a few days and then continue on to wherever we feel like....here are a few pictures from this year's Adventure Trip:
We started in Great Sand Dune National Park (which of course was full, so we camped in nearby Zapata Falls). But on the way there, we stopped in Salida for lunch - all of our Adventure Trips so far have started with margaritas.
Funny story: In Colorado, whenever I tell people that we got married in Sedalia, they think that I mean Salida. But we've never been to Salida before this so it was fun to check out the town where we supposedly got married.
We stayed down in Zapata Falls for two days. One day we did a hike which turned out to be way more adventurous that we had planned. It was advertised as a four mile hike to an alpine lake, but we hiked for over five miles one way and never made it to the lake.
We kept having to cross over the river, balancing on sticks and rocks, and the higher we went, the more snow we encountered!
Finally it seemed like we had reached a dead end - the trail was buried under the snow and the only other way was to go up and over huge rock piles. We did have a good lunch time view though:
The hike ended up taking us 7 hours and was over 11 miles long. I joked to Ryan that I was never doing off-season training with him again. But! We were rewarded with amazing sunsets.
Another day we hiked the sand dunes which were incredible.
They seem so out of place in between all the Colorado mountains and when you're really in there, all you can see is sand. It was like a different world.
We hiked up to the highest peak. Some people were even skiing or sledding down!
We took our shoes off at the top and walked down barefoot which was great - although you can't do that in the summer because they say that in the middle of the day, the sand can get as hot as 150 degrees!
We left from the sand dunes and headed down to Pagosa Springs, CO....but first we stopped at an alligator farm on the side of the road, which was crazy!
The farm has over 100 alligators (and tortoises, emus, ostriches, snakes....), including their "movie star", Morris, who has been in Happy Gilmore and Dr. Doolittle 2.
And - Ryan held an alligator! I was too scared.
When we got to Pagosa Springs, it started pouring which was not conducive to camping, so we got a hotel room for the night and went out for tacos. In the morning, we soaked in the hot springs which felt great after all the hiking and then continued on to Buena Vista.
And we made another road side stop at a Caribou farm along the highway.
It was the funniest place - they had tons of antlers...
...and tons of jerky! We bought goat jerky and had to try bear jerky, of course. It was actually pretty good and very tender.
When another huge thunderstorm rolled through while we were eating lunch in Buena Vista, we decided that the Adventure Trip was over and we booked it back to Steamboat just in time to see American Pharoah win the Triple Crown.
PS - A few pictures from last year's Adventure Trip and camping essentials for the non-camper...