On Top of the World

Before the joy of the children began, Espi and I would hike one or two 14ers each summer. Our last was Challenger Peak, one of the most beautiful so far, even as it was mixed with Espi teasing my leeriness ascending up the steep rock wall to the peak and getting pelted by hail on the way down--having difficulty finding some kind of shelter, we ran much of the way right into the truck!

Don't the peaks attract most of us? It is a beautiful, completely different world up there!

Part of my birthday wish this year was a drive up Guanella Pass. This road connects Grant, CO and Georgetown, CO by way of a mountain pass reaching above 11, 000 feet, above the timberline where the trees stop growing. It's a pretty, slower drive that we hadn't taken in about 7 years.

Well, with a huge roast beef hoagie and all the fixings for a picnic packed in the cooler, we took off after breakfast for the mountains. The birthday picnic was at the height of our drive surrounded by Mt. Bierstadt and several other beauties. Then we hiked to a couple easy overlooks before the children started naps and we unwound our way back to busy highways and "city life."

[They were big, I tell you!]

[at the top of our first overlook]

[Mt. Bierstadt is on the right.]

The weather up there was cool and pleasant, and the drive was painted with "stop-me-in-my-tracks" golden aspens. Sharing in the wonders of this place with Espi and the children made it even sweeter.

[It is hard to capture the aspens' gorgeous glow; it is a sight to see.]

The family, also, took me out for some of my favorite Italian, complete with a large serving of tiramisu and creme brulee. We all got our fill! Later that night, Espi and I looked through some family pictures we attempted to take at and after the restaurant. Little A was captured "bouncing off the walls," and H and Espi had such serious expressions. Espi's reply? "Sugar shock and we were STUFFED."

[missing eyes and soldier stance: strike 1]

[bouncy-pants: strike 2]

["stuffed" Espi and A hopped right in as AD crawled across at lightning speed: strike 3]

Note to self: Avoid family shots after high volumes of sugar and food, in general.

[Later that evening Espi asked H to try taking a few more in attempts to make up for the poor ones prior::by the end, he is sincere and my eyes are watered over from laughing. We need PPI--professional photography intervention.]