Monday, June 15, 2015

Vacation Day 2.

Know what I like about travelling with a friend who knows me?
There is no conversation about when we should get up.

I'm on vacation. Which is like a consecutive string of Saturdays...
I'll get up when I stop sleeping.

She was such a good sport about this.
Every once in awhile I'd open an eye to see what she was doing way over there on her bed. Usually she'd just be lying very still, reading her book. She wakes up reading. I go to sleep reading. Opposites.

Day 2.

Another, 'in the car' day. With no real destination, other than it seemed important to her that we see The Great Continental Divide.
And I wanted to make it to the evening concert on time.
(And by 'on time', we agreed this meant minutes before the first group took the stage. We had reserved seating, so there was no point in arriving early.)

Our first stop, as per the previous day, was Super Target. Or Super Walmart. Or something similar. We needed snacks to double as meals while we were out and about. She had brought an insulated shopping bag to keep our fruit and whatnot cool-ish. I didn't bring anything like this.

From there? The open highway. In my mind we headed north, but that's got a 25% chance of being correct. Gladys kept us pointed in the right direction and while we may have argued with her now and then, we trusted her implicitly.

We took the first exit that had a brown sign.
(Brown signs were Scenic Points of Interest.)

It took us up a less-travelled road to a historic mansion that was hosting a Wildflower Festival.
Everything about that sentence sounds photo-worthy correct?

Brown signs are misleading.

The visitor's centre had more dead stuffed wildlife:
Which; OK.
But srsly.
I was there for the wildflowers.

Sadly, I had unrealistic expectations regarding wildflowers.
There were none.

It was a festival to Inform and Educate.
So there were two tables set up, with poster boards and samples, explaining the varieties of flora and fauna in the area. 


So we moved on to The Mansion:

Which was mostly unimpressive.
Oh brown Scenic Spot sign, you let us down.

However, a short walk past the end of the driveway, there was a viewpoint.

And way yonder? In the distance?
Sandra spied The Continental Divide.

The FARTHER distance.
See the top left corner of that above pic?
The snow capped mountain?
That's the one that got her all 'xited.

Lemme bring that in closer for you:

That's what today's goal was.

So we got back into our Jeep and asked Gladys to tell us how to get there.

She wasn't too happy when we're veered off the highway seconds later, for this:

Or Bison.

We never did get a solid answer:

The babies look like little cows:

Nice backside, mom.

Oooooooh. Blue eyes....

Gladys was proving to be temperamental or possibly hormonal, so we pulled over into a small town to ask for directions like any sane person would. Across from the Subway parking lot was this. Which I thought was quaint and photoworthy.

So I got out of the vehicle to snap a few.

Between me and the gold mine was a river.
With this happening:

So I took a few (hundred) photos.
Because, Action. Color. Water drops. Facial expressions.

I've since deleted most of them.
Because, Strangers.

Regardless, you'll have to scroll through a few of them.
Because, My Blog. And I'm happy with the way theses turned out:

This guy brought up the rear.
I guess he'd be rescuing anyone tossed overboard?

And then the other organization's rafts entered the river:

If you want to see more, ask Sandra.
She had her camera set to automatic sports mode.
Meaning, for every one I took, she took ten.

With clear directions and a definite goal, we headed out to Mt. Evans:

We made it to the entrance to this Highest Auto Road only to see this:

Someone was vera vera sad.
Apparently they'd had a rough winter and the road wasn't safe.

We hung around the touristy area, but there was snow on the ground and it was freeeeezing cold. We were underdressed for such an adventure...

While she was looking at The Continental Divide,

I was spying on a hummingbird:

She's a big picture person.
I'm more into the details.

Once we'd had our fill of all we wanted to see, we headed back down the mountain.

And frustrated the heck out of Gladys when we stopped at a creek.

We were nature paparazzi.

This was a common site.
Our Jeep at the side of the road.

We pulled over again, in Small Town, America.
Because it was too cute to pass by.

Not surprisingly, the occupants of this town all looked alot like this:

So perfect.

Back on the freeway, we saw this from a distance and decided we needed a closer look.
From the freeway, it was just a white speck. So we didn't know what we were driving towards til we closer:

Gladys had totally stopped speaking to us by now.
She had given up trying to keep us on track.

When we got to the parking area, the Jesus statue looked to be about 700 miles away, straight up a mountain. The fella getting into his car to leave, just beside us, said, no, It wasn't that far. Just 600 steps, starting Right Over There.

One million steps later, I got to this sign:

(Remember. All this stepping is being done in 187 degrees weather.)

The view from 200 steps:

Sign-eating snakes, apparently.

Ten hours, or ten minutes, depending on your lungs and legs, this sign appears:

The steps.
They just kept appearing and appearing.

The view?
On the way to the top?
Was worth the effort.

And then,

I had a moment.

Sandra kept getting in front of me to take her pics.
With the misguided idea that her height was causing an issue, she took her photos from the squat position.

Which. Yes. Totally unnecessary. But whatevs. She had it in her mind that she was blocking my view otherwise.

This is my lame-ass attempt at a selfie.

Me. And Jesus:

I have over two dozen variations of this.
Let me know if you'd like a copy.

I am better at taking pics of flowers.

There was chapel on the property that was hotter n an oven.
All those candles. Lit. On fire. Producing heat.

It felt sacred.
And stifling.

And yes, it DID occur to me, that this was a holy place, not a Kodak endorsed photo op.
The whole place, not just the chapel, I mean.

Many, many, Mexican families were on those stairs, on a person trek, for reasons unknown to me.
And while I loved the view, and the flowers, and the beauty of it all... it was in a cemetery of sorts. Eventually I respected that.

Once I could breathe normally again.

From there, we made our way to the concert venue.

The drive through the park was spectacular.
All these rock formations bursting up through the ground.

We parked next to two other women who also had flown in from out of town for a girlfriend's weekend centred around this concert. They too were changing in their car. They too had snacks for meals.

From the parking lot, it was a bit of a hike. Mostly uphill. As per everything else on this trip.

And then there were eleventy million zillion stairs to climb. With warnings, every third step, that cameras are not allowed in the venue.

I am not a rebellious person.
If there's a sign, a law, a commandment, a suggested code of conduct,  I obey it.
Except when it comes to my camera.

So the rest of these photos are a result of my thug lifestyle.
Appreciate them.
Because Every Single One was taken with a moment of hesitation first.

We had seats in Row 5.
Which was perfect, but next time (and oh yes, there will be a next time) I would get them closer to the middle, or even on the other side as that's where the big lyric screen was.

The concert?
Was incredible.

Four hours of non-stop worship.
SERIOUSLY fabulous and awesome and wonderful and incredible and so good.

And the venue.
Was as just magical as I anticipated it would be.

I loved every single minute of the entire evening.

(Phil Wickham)

Peter Furler: (Former Newsboys Lead Singer)

Matt Maher:

Day Two of this vacation?
Was absolutely perfect.



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