June 23, 2012

Terror on Trail Ridge, Sweeping Beauty, Elk, Alluvial Fun, and MORE

Whinging da Creature says "My butt hurts"  Um, you might want to look behind you kid :-o
Our day began in Denver very very early.  After a drive through Boulder, and up the canyon, we arrived in Estes and went to the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center to pick up the Jr. Ranger things.  Now, some back story on da Mama....every year of my young life (even the year before I was born), until I was about 14, my family went to the Rocky Mountain National Park to hike, and do amazing things.  Most of the time when we went, we took the lovely drive up Trail Ridge Road, so I know it kind of by heart.


This is important.  As I drove up the winding familiar road, I began to realize something...I am TERRIFIED of driving on edges of roads with 2000 foot drops and no guard rails or trees or anything between you and DEATH for you and everyone you love most in the world.  Terrified.

I had three massive crying panic attacks which I could not control and had to pull off onto the side "overlook" pullouts.  It was just unbelievably awful for me, and I was trying desperately to put a brave face on it, but couldn't.  So, when we finally made it to the Alpine Visitor's Center, I had to explain to da Creature that sometimes Mommies get scared, really scared, and cry, but you have to be brave and go on, because that's just what you have to do at that moment.

I asked the Rangers what do they do if someone just panics and refuses to go back down the road.  They told me they could call me a tow truck and a cab and for several hundred dollars I did not ever have to drive on that damnable road again.  OR, I could drive around through Grand Junction (four hours).  I knew all of that, and wasn't seriously considering any of those options (right?), especially since we had an appointment at Cheley Colorado Camps at 2:00 PM.

So, da Mama got back in da car and hugged the yellow line like a maniac and downshifted like you do, and drove 20 MPH on the parts where I was on the oustide of the road with the big 'ole drop just a couple of feet away.

We made it, obviously, and went over to the Alluvial Fan to take a small hike (which he whined about mightily while "hiking" but enjoyed of course) to a lovely waterfall.  I was there in the park the season after the lake came crashing through the mountain and made that alluvial fan, and getting to see it all gussied up as an attraction was really amazing for me.

He had fun, duh,, he just didn't believe he would.

Then, we went to Cheley and wandered around to give him a chance to start to visualize himself at Cheley someday and it went really well, even though he was pretty grouchy and tired.

We went to our Motel, and because the dumb travelocity had not really done what I wanted, the lady at the desk (who had an autistic grandson AND nephew) gave us the very best of her cabins so we wouldn't have to walk up stairs.  So, we had a screened porch, and two beds and a sofa bed, and a kitchen...it was WONDERFUL.

We went to dinner in town at a lovely Italian restaurant called Mama Rose's, and then we went to Stanley Park to let him play on the playground.  While he was there, a moment built of God's blessed angels happened...he was trying to climb up a difficult part of the play set, a really tall, open netting kind of thing and he got scared.  She told him he had to go up, and normally in these situations there is a bit of drama and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but he said the following:

"I'm gonna be brave like Mama.  Because sometimes, you just have to be brave and go on.
After that, we went back to the cabin.   Another miracle happened....da Creature sat on the porch for hours, just watching the river and looking at the mountains.  He and da Sister sat side by side and watched the sun sink slowly below the mountains and she told him stories from her two summers at Cheley and it was so special for both of them.

It was an incredibly special day.

The video from his interview is a couple of posts down.  Just click on the header and scroll down to find it.

Here's the highlights:


  1. Looks like such fun!

  2. First of all, I feel your pain about the winding roads. I HATE those roads! Second of all, seeing and reading this, makes me want to plan a trip right now. Despite how much I hate the drive and hate the altitude sickness, I LOVE the Rockies. Have fun!