We’ve finally reached our final destination on our journey.  I’m sad to be writing this last recap!  As you can probably tell, we had a great vacation.  We have seen so many wonderful places in the US!  The Rocky Mountains, and Estes Park is the final destination.  I wouldn’t say we saved the best for last, but Colorado does hold a place in my heart.  Incredibly beautiful!!


We camped in the Glacier Basin primitive campground within the park.  When we checked in, the ranger asked if we had kids because a mountain lion and cub have been spotted near the area where we were staying.  A mountain lion!!!  I told the ranger that we had two small, delicious children.  HAHA!  We did not get to see the mountain lion, but I think that would have been really cool (from a distance!!).  Our camper is on the right in this picture.


Our campsite was quite relaxing, and we even got to have a campfire finally.


So many other parks had bans due to the lack of rain.  We enjoyed a delicious meal of burgers and beans.  Fun fact, Zach hates beans!  I get it – my Dad LOVED pork and beans and I swear we ate them every night when I was a kid.  I didn’t like them much at all.  Nowadays I love beans again, since I have freedom of choice if I want to eat them or not 🙂


Our first hike at the park happened right before sunset, to Sprague Lake.  I thought the destination was pretty close, but it took awhile.  The hike turned into a mad scamper back to the trail head as it got darker and darker, and we heard a coyote (or something!) howl!  Sydney and I were getting pretty nervous.  Yikes!!!  We should have had our headlamps with us.

The next day we took a hike to Gem lake.  Alan and I had been to Estes park probably 20 years ago and we found an incredible lake.  We were hoping this trail led to that unknown lake, but it didn’t.  Still, it was pretty incredible for a little lake – a little lake up in the mountains!

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On our hike we ran into some people from Ohio, who took our picture.  In fact, they said they were heading to our home town of Toledo in the next few weeks to see the MudHens.  Small world!  This is called Paul Bunyan’s Boot (with a hole in the sole!).


After our morning hike, we stopped into the town of Estes Park to do some shopping.


Estes Park is a funky little town.  We bought several souvenirs and also enjoyed huge Blizzards from DQ.


All of that sugar fueled us for more hiking in the afternoon.  We went to another lake that was close by, but still not the lake we were looking for.  It was Bear Lake.  This lake was amazing though – picture perfect!!


This lake did not have a bad side!!


We finished our stay at Glacier Basin park with another campfire, talking about all of the great things we had seen on the trip.  In the morning, it was time to finish up those boxes of cereal that we accumulated on the trip.  Really, this is nuts!


The drive back home, and back to reality, took almost two whole days of driving.  Uneventful, although we did have a bad night sleeping at Walmart.  It was hot out, and we were unable to use our air conditioning or fans in the parking lot “campsite”.  So we had the windows open – but there was a semi truck parked close by.  The truck idled all night long!!  I felt like I didn’t sleep a wink.

We’ve already had discussions on what our destination should be next year, so it was an overwhelming success from everyone’s point of view.  California came up as a potential destination.  I’d be all for that!!  Hope you have enjoyed my trip too.  If you missed out on any of the days, here they all are:


Q:  If you had 17 days to travel in the US, where would you go?

Q:  Are there any foods that your parents made you eat as kid that you disliked?

11 thoughts on “Epic Road Trip – Rockies & Estes Park… the end :(”
  1. That was a great trip! Even though we drove a LOT, it really didn’t seem all that bad. Especially since the kids behaved far better than I thought they would being stuck in the truck for so long.

    1. The driving really didn’t bother me – well, the riding in the truck, because I didn’t do any driving… it’s actually a nice break for me to catch up on reading because I usually don’t do that at home. I even read a whole book. Yep, the whole thing! That’s a major accomplishment for me 🙂

  2. I would probably start in Anchorage and work my way down the Pacific Coast to Baja. I am running a half marathon in Estes Park on August 3rd. Altitude is going to kill me and the first couple of miles are an incline! Last time I was there, we ate lunch at the Stanley Hotel. They really play up that ghost angle with books, t shirts, and ghost tours. I will be in Ohio for Towpath Half Marathon. Are you running Towpath this year? When I was a kid, my mother made liver and onions once a week. I absolutely detest liver. I have not touched liver since I graduated from high school 47 years ago!

    1. There was a race happening the day after we left Estes and I remembered you were running there too. We were challenged just driving on those hills – have fun!! 😉
      I hadn’t heard of the Towpath marathon and just looked it up. October should be a great time for that race. I’m running the Columbus half the weekend afterwards. Have you ran that race before?

  3. First time for me. Couple of friends are trying to get the 50 states and they need Ohio. Another friend is hoping to BQ for 2020. I am only doing the half but I heard it is nice and flat.

  4. Paul and I did the Gem Lake hike! I thought it was the cutest thing. I wanted to keep going on the trail but we had reservations to tour The Stanley. Did the elevation bother you guys?

    We bought all of our souvenirs at those little shops along the river too!

    Bear Lake was also a place we went. Paul ate an egg mcmuffin sitting on a rock looking at a lake and I told he should not eat something so gross at such a beautiful spot!

    So there is a trail that goes from Bear Lake out to three other lakes… Nymph Lake Dream Lake and Emerald Lake. Perhaps one of those was what you and Alan were looking for? Here is a link to my blog post where we hiked to those lakes:

    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Weekend Wrap UpMy Profile

    1. Nope, not Nymph lake either. This prompted me to do some research on my old pictures (which I should have done before the trip!!) and it turns out it was Mills Lake. I remember it being a long hike, and it opening up into a huge lake. We went back in 2004.
      We were used to the elevation from skiing so much there. I’m glad it wasn’t as hot as the other destinations we visited, then it would have been pretty bad. That’s pretty funny about the Egg McMuffin!!

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