Saturday, October 12, 2013

WestTrip 2013 Part 1

Day 1 - October 5th

My wife and I try to take a trip to the western US at least every other year.  We have talked about taking my dad out there for the past two years, and this year we decided to make it a family trip by bringing along the two kiddos.  Needless to say we knew it would be significantly different than our typical trip for various reasons:

  • Our daughter's first flight
  • My dad's first flight
  • More expensive
  • Limited activities for children
What we didn't know was that the government was going to throw another wrench into our plan by shutting down the national parks and forests.  Unfortunately, three of my intended destinations during our 5-day trip were to national parks or forests (Rocky Mountain NP, Routt National Forest, and Dinosaur National Monument).  So, I was left scurrying to find replacements for those days.  Thankfully, the state parks were open for business and they offered a nice alternative.

However, that was not the only surprise for our trip.  We were arriving in Steamboat one day after Winter Storm Atlas dumped 12 inches of snow in the area.  That too would alter our plans for the first half of the trip.

I just returned from a business trip to Denver a couple weeks earlier, so I was able to familiarize myself with the Denver area and the first 1/2 of our drive to Steamboat Springs.  That left me feeling confident about the journey to our destination although we may have to make some modifications to our plans once we arrived.

The kids did great on the flight over, and my son was anxious to arrive.
Trey Playing his LeapPad
Taryn is happy to "Blast Off!"
Not long into the flight, they were both zonked out.

We were greeted with the following views once we crossed over the Continental Divide into Silverthorne, CO.  Little did we know that as we went farther north the snowfall totals would increase.

The Blue River, where I fished just two weeks previously, was looking vastly different.  Much more color in the bushes and trees, and plenty of the white stuff.

Another hour later we found ourselves climbing the mountain through Routt National Forest near Rabbit Ears Pass along the Continental Divide.  Here is where the snowfall amounts began to increase substantially.

As we were nearing Steamboat Springs and completely mesmerized by all the views, my dad suddenly shouted "MOOSE"!  I did my best to stop quickly while not losing control in the snow encapsulated sub-freezing road, and sure enough about 500 yards off to the right stood a moose.  He stood there broadside staring at us just like he was posing.  I quickly jumped out, grabbed my telephoto zoom and snapped a few pictures.

I honestly was not expecting to see a moose on this trip until day three when I was hoping to venture over to State Forest State Park.  This big fella was just icing on the snow covered cake.

We eventually bid this big guy farewell, and drove another 15 minutes into Steamboat Springs.  The remainder of the first day we took it pretty easy just grabbing a bite for dinner and checking out some of the shops in town.  Trey just had to have a "real cowboy hat", and he was so excited when we told him he could have one.  Here he is proudly displaying his hat.

That was pretty much it for Day 1, I hope you have enjoyed reading.  I will try to work on the remainder of the trip over the next few days.  So, if you enjoyed this, please keep checking back for more.  Below is the link to around 100 or so of the 300+ pictures I took over the 5 days.
WestTrip 2013 Photo Album

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19" Clinch River Brown