Monday, February 7, 2011

E is for Evans

Last August, our buddy Ty came from Tucson for a visit. We took him to Mt. Evans. We ended up going 2 days in a row. The first day the weather was... less then optimal...

That first day, we drove to the top and as the sign indicates, it's the highest road made for automobiles in North America; I was terrified most of the way. The visibility was so bad, because of the low rain clouds and the height of the mountain, that we could not see the car in front of the truck that was in front of us! Dave is swivel-heading to see all the cloudy sights that were available and it was freaking me out. The road to the top of the mountain is precarious to say the least. It's barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other and the drop off is... impressive (read: terrifying).

We did see a couple of real life, wooly Mountain Goats! When we got to the top, we got out of the van and ran to the bathrooms. Not that anyone really had to go but with the torrential rain, the clapping thunder and the lightning that looked close enough to lick, none of us really wanted to stand in the open!

The amazing view from the top of the mountain was obscured by cloud cover so we didn't stay long and trundled back into the minivan most immediately.

Our park pass was good for two days so we went back up the next day and the weather was much more friendly.

We had a picnic of Subway sandwiches, chips, and soda...

Old friendships were renewed
Small boulders were climbed upon

Stumps were conquered

and leaped off of

tiny bridges were crossed....

and a great time was had by all!

We drove to the top once again and although the drive was just as precarious as the day before, it wasn't nearly as frightening when you could actually see more then a few feet in front of you. It was really amazing to see the end of the tree line. It was like someone had literally drawn a line in the ground and the trees refused to pass that line.
When we parked at the top again, Dave, T and I took the trail to the top of the mountain. There was still an icy drizzle so Ty and D2 opted out and went back to the warm minivan. The climb up was really easy but the the icy rain made it a bit miserable. Evans is a "14'er" which means the top is 14,000 feet above sea level. At the very top, there's a brass circle embedded into the rock establishing it's height. I would've taken a pic of it but the weather was so bad, we ducked on down. On the way back, my husband, Magellan, took a wrong turn and we ended up going the shorter way which is straight down over some nasty looking big rocks. T loved it! I thought it was kind of cool too but was scared T might fall.

More recently (as in a couple of weeks ago), we took a minivacation to Keystone. We stayed in a lovely "condo" (read: 2 story apartment on the third floor).

The kids both got new snow jackets and they were all bundled up to go out and play in the snow...
(D2 looks like Kenny!)

Apparently, there's a culinary school nearby and the students did all these really cool ice sculptures...

We went up a gondola to the top of Keystone. We shared our 20 minute ride with a lovely older couple from PA who have EIGHT kids back home! The oldest (a set of female twins) just graduated college so they are taking a 3 week vacation to celebrate!
D2 asked, "If we fall, will we die?". He is SO morbid! The other couple laughed and said that in their previous ride up the mountain, there was a 4 year old boy who asked, "If we fall, how would we get out?" The man said he told the boy if they fell, getting out would be the least of their worries! Then we started talking about the gondola that fell in Maine and how it took three hours to get to the people to rescue them. I said, "I'd be set, I've got my knitting in my pocket!" Then the lady and I started talking crafts (she quilts) and the men talked sports and it was a lovely encounter!
At the top, they had a big snow fort for the kids to play in....

But our main goal at the top was to go tubing! It was So. Much FUN!!! There's 4 groomed runs and attendants at the top and bottom to help you. They help you into your tube and give you a push and, if you like, they will whip you in a circle first so when you go down the run you are spinning like a top! I'd get to the bottom and as soon as those attendants let me, I'd RUN across the lanes to the covered conveyor belt that takes you back to the top to go again! You rent your tube by the hour and it's worth EVERY penny.
We had a guy take our pic and if you look closely, you can see a couple of the attendants in the background waving "hi" to you....

Every body that works at Keystone was SO nice! I mean, genuinely happy to be there and really going out of their way to engage and help you. I realized that, hell yeah! it would be so awesome to work there that, of course, they're all going to be nice!
After our tubing adventure, we went to the lodge at the top for some snacks. It was packed with nowhere to sit really - at least not a table to ourselves - so I walked up to 2 guys sitting at the end of along table and asked if the seats next to them were open and they said yes. After we ate, Dave took the boys to the bathroom and I took out my knitting. As usual, it starts a conversation with strangers. The 2 men were from the Czech Republic but live in Boston now and were in CO on vacation. I said, "So you went from the cold to the cold to the cold!" They were funny and sweet and very sleepy from a day on the slopes.
When we got back to our condo, we got the everyone into their swimsuits and their "fancy pants" (that's what we call our fleecy pj pants) and went to the indoor/outdoor pool. There's also a hot tub, a dry sauna, and a steam room. The boys had never been in a sauna or steam room and they didn't really care for either. I prefer the dry sauna since the wetness of the steam room just makes me think it's got to be all mildewy and gross (even though I know it's not!).
The pool was mostly outside with a small leg inside to break you in. The boys would get out of the water (which was a bit heated but not as warm as you might think) and they were little steam monsters standing on the edge of the pool, counting slowly to see who could last the longest! Then we'd go inside for the hot tub and warm back up.
We were only there for two very expensive nights but it was much needed break from the stress of our lives down the hill and I wish we could've stayed for a week! We ate at great restaurants, had fun snow adventures and relaxing evenings by a fireplace.
Heaven for a price, Ruth!


Anonymous said...

Great times! When we were in Glacier NP last summer we drove the Going To The Sun Highway, which has the same kind of narrowness and terrifying dropoffs as you describe. I spent that part of the drive turned toward the center of the van and knitting with my head down.

Yarnhog said...

What great pictures! You guys have been having lots of fun!