Here are some highlights from our Colorado trip so far:
Saturday, June 1
We arrived at the cabin in the Rocky Mountains. The cabin is very pretty, made of pine logs without and pine boards within. My northerly-dwelling relatives might be amused at how elated the Louisiana and California cousins were about sledding on a 10′ by 6′ patch of snow they found in the woods.
Sunday, June 2
A number of us went to Mass in a tiny church in a tiny town. It had a simple interior with a lot of light, and a stained glass window of the Holy Spirit behind the altar. After Mass we had lunch at a little cafe, then got groceries to bring to the cabin.
Monday, June 3
It was our 7th wedding anniversary. Michael and I spent the day together in Breckenridge. The city was not what I expected, after seeing the rows of new-looking, many-storied chalet-style buildings from the highway. As we walked around visiting this place and that, beside the tourist-style stores full of t-shirts and magnets, everything seemed just a little dated and a little worn, but well-kept; and the general feel was of slow-paced friendliness. We are here in “mud season,” when tourism is low, so maybe things look a little different at the peak times.
Tuesday, June 4
On this day we drove to Cañon City to ride the Royal Gorge Route Railway. The train went at a slow, ambling pace through the gorge. Some of the views were spectacular. The children loved riding on the train.
Tuesday night I discovered that the Louisiana folk were not familiar with Pictionary. Since a lot of them have a goodly bit of drawing talent, and a lot of creativity, it was fun to introduce them to the game.
Wednesday, June 5
We went range-shooting in the woods, the two oldest cousins, Michael, my father-in-law, and I. Hunting is forbidden, but range-shooting is not. We went in the morning, through the woods to a site my father-in-law had scouted out. The morning was gorgeous, and after so long in southern California I don’t remember the last time I saw breath hanging in the air, as it did this morning. I went willingly – I was glad to have this chance to handle the weapons, to learn about them, and how they are used. I would rather that than simply be afraid. But I felt nauseated, for a time, as we walked through the trees, thinking about guns and shooting. The hearing protection gear enabled me to hear the blood pumping in my head, and I thought about soldiers, as I waited for the report from a weapon that can easily sever soul and body.
We shot a Ruger 22 and a Colt 45. It was a good challenge to aim and hit the target. I’d like to do it again.
Thursday, June 6
Today Michael and my father-in-law and I set off to attempt to hike to the summit of a 14,000 foot peak. We made it pretty well above the tree line – my father-in-law estimates that we may have gotten to 13,000 feet. However, at that point the trails were covered in snow, and the mountain face with lots of loose rock, and we had no climbing gear, so we turned back. The views were gorgeous and ever-changing; Michael said it was like walking in a painting. We saw a mule deer, three wolves (away on a hillside) and a little speckled partridge.
One more full day to go, then we take off for the great white north. Well, for Fargo, anyway.