After spending a weekend in Colorado Springs for a family reunion, we headed to Black Canyon of the Gunnison. On the way we stopped and stretched our legs and had a mini picnic lunch with a beautiful view….and of course Hollis found some dirt to play in so she was stoked.
So many beautiful places to pull over and stretch your legs and take pics. I can’t wait to hike some of these places when the kids are a little bigger.
The next morning we woke up nice and early to drive the Million Dollar Highway. I’m so glad we went early because there was very little traffic which made the super steep drop-offs and winding road, slightly less terrifying. I’m glad I wasn’t driving because there was so much beautiful scenery to look at. I kept pointing things out to Brian while he was driving…luckily he ignored me and kept his eyes on the road. Fortunately there are many places to pull off and whip your camera out.
The cutest town, Ouray is tucked away in the mountains. We drove through it because the kiddos were asleep, but we would have loved to get out and explore it. It looked like a fun town to stay in, so hopefully next time we can do that.
We drove through Durango and then to Farmington, NM where we got a glimpse of Shiprock before heading to Four Corners.
We were looking forward to the Four Corners Monument, but it was a little disappointing. It was super hot and there was zero shade to escape the afternoon sun. The only thing to do there is stand in line and have your picture taken on the monument. The people in line were friendly and took turns taking the pic of the people in line in front of them so it went fairly quickly. There are also little vendors selling souvenirs. The prices were reasonable, but each vendor pretty much sold the same things. We let Hollis pick out a necklace and bracelet and we picked out a bear carved out of stone for Bo. The biggest disappointment was that there was NO FOOD/DRINKS. There was one food truck there, but it was not open at 1:30pm while we were there.
We kept moving towards Mesa Verde National Park. We had another impromptu picnic there and checked out the Cliff Palaces. We would love to do the tour some day, but the kids were just too small to do it this time. There was more white-nuckle driving as we drove higher up and then down the mountain. We left just in time before it started to storm.
At this point, the kids were getting really used to hotel life. We found that after a long day of driving we all did better with picking up dinner somewhere and eating it in our hotel room. The kids were able to wind down before bedtime and pretty much stay on their usual schedule. So while our night life was pretty low-key and boring, it definitely made for calmer, happier kids the next day.
On our way back home, we stumbled upon my new favorite spot. We had spent most of the day driving already with no real opportunities to get out of the car and recharge. So when Bowen woke up hungry and Hollis started to get restless, we decided we better find somewhere to stop asap. Of course when you really need to stop, there is nowhere to stop. After searching for a place to pull off and feed the baby, with no real options, we decided to get off the highway and trek down a dirt road and see where it took us.
We ended up at a campground tucked away deep in the trees. Seriously, if you wanted to commit a crime and hideout somewhere, this is the place to disappear. We continued down this narrow dirt road, passed people horseback riding, and passed what we thought was a little stream to our right. We thought it would be a great spot for Hollis to get out and do her thing aka dig in the dirt. When we actually got closer to the spot, it opened up to this beautiful fishing spot.
These pictures really don’t show how secluded this little gem was. The whole spot was hiding behind a wall of trees. I was so happy to relax on a blanket and feed the baby while Hollis got to collect rocks in the water with dad.
We had the place all to ourselves for a while. A friendly older couple showed up to fish and said this is their favorite fishing spot because it is so hidden and quiet. They were really sweet and let Hollis watch them catch a fish (which only took them less than five minutes to catch). We didn’t stay long after that because we didn’t want our little hooligans to scare away any fish for the nice couple.
The rest of our trip home was pretty uneventful. Just lots of driving. Lots and lots of driving. We broke up the driving with one more stay at a hotel so that we only had about 3 hours on our last leg home. Part of me really wanted to just keep driving and not stop, and if it was just Brian and I, that’s probably what we would have done. I’m glad we stopped and rested. The kids definitely appreciated it and it made life a lot easier when we did get home and transitioned back into our normal routine. I needed that rest just to unload everything out of the car and catch up the laundry!
I’m so glad we survived (and enjoyed) our first vacation as a family of four. Colorado was so beautiful and had so much to offer. I can’t wait to go back again!