As you may know, Dan (finally!) landed a job last week. In fact, his first day was today. (Which is a Wahoo and an Oh Bummer all at the same time, since the job is in Lost Vegas.) Also last week, in a blessing of fortune, the investments that have kept us alive the last two years threw a little extra money into the kitty. So, in thanksgiving and celebration, we blew a little of the blessing on a three-day family holiday. (Though, since we are feeling zero regret about it, maybe " blown" is not exactly the right verb!)
So where to go and what to do with a mini van full of kids, only three days and a limited budget?
No brainer. A few weeks ago, Dan and I got to go on a little mini twenty-fifth anniversary trip to explore southern Colorado, and practically everywhere we went, we kept saying, "Dang! I wish the kids were here! They'd love this!" (Is that weird, or what?) So, with our windfall, we retraced our steps -- with six of the kids in tow: Dominic (who turned 19 last Saturday), Theresa (14), Cathy (who turns 12 this week), Anna (10), Gabe (8), and William (6).
We traveled from home in the Uncompahgre Valley through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison outside Montrose, then south to big little town of Salida and on to San Luis, west to South Fork, over to Durango, and north again in a big loop, up and over the San Juans to Ouray and home again. On the way, we spent two nights in a little cabin on the Rio Grande River, while we explored the Great Sand Dunes, Zapata Falls, the Stations Shrine in the oldest town in Colorado, the oldest church in Colorado, and every other waterfall we saw a sign for along the way. We had a blast. Everything was a good time, the children were all in high spirits and well behaved, and the autumn leaves were in high-camera form. Sadly big Nikon is in the hospital on disability right now, but we took a billion pictures with our little baby Nikon. Here are a few of the shots we got, just to give an idea (and a small one!) of the constant delight of the eyes along the way:
|This one is near Salida, on the Arkansas River -- where the leaves are only just starting to change.|
|In Salida -- on Dominic's 19th Birthday.|
|At the "entrance" to Zapata Falls. (More on the Falls, later!)|