The Professor Goes West//Days 21, 22, 23//There and Back Again

Day 21—Saturday, June 9, 2018

Today we slept in—the kids slept until past 8AM and the professor and I read and journaled in the tent so as to not wake the children. We had a leisurely morning at the campsite. The kids climbed up the hill behind the campsite and played on a huge rock. Once again nature was a superior playground! I followed them up the hill to see what I could see and I saw a lovely view of Long’s Peak.

We then set out to find a place to hike—but as Rocky Mountain National Park is a very crowded park it took a while to find a place to hike. First, we tried the Beaver Meadow for about half an hour and then drove up to the Lawn Lake Flood waterfall. It was a short but steep, rocky trail, but the waterfall was lovely. The girls and I put our feet in the water which was quite cold. T found it to be too cold.

I especially liked the aspens quaking beside the stream with their airy cages. We then drove around a bit to find other places to hike but parking was all full. Afterwards we went back to the campsite and had tuna and apples for lunch. The professor took the kids to Fern Meadow where they played in the stream for a while and then looked at a herd of elk including a mother elk and her fawn.

I stayed at the campsite to catch up on my journal and have some quiet alone time. It was quite refreshing. When they returned, we dressed and went to Mass at Our Lady of the Mountains for the anticipatory Mass where we sang all of the classic songs I sang as a child when my father was the music director. For supper I made “pizzadillas” in a frying pan (tortillas sandwiching pizza sauce, mozzarella, and pepperoni) and we had ice cream for dessert. Then we had the last campfire of the trip.

Day 22—Sunday, June 10, 2018

We woke early to break camp making it out in less than two hours from wake up to departure, which was a record for us. The tourist town of Estes Park was traffic-free for once as we made our way over US-36 and followed the North St. Vrain Creek through a mountain canyon. We came out quite suddenly onto the endless flat plains of Eastern Colorado. They went on the rest of the day.

The land got greener and greener as we went further east approaching the lush Mid-West spring. All was flat and all was green.

We listened to Return of the King as we went along and made lunch at a rest stop. About 6PM we arrived at our Omaha Embassy Suites where we checked in, hauled out things upstairs, and then went down for cocktails and appetizers. Still hungry, we ordered Dominos Pizza and ate it while taking turns showering off the last dirt of our trip. We went to bed tired but clean.

Day 23—Monday, June 11, 2018

The Embassy Suites has by far the best hotel breakfast a person could ask for. The kids ate from the hot breakfast buffet but the professor and I both had omelets made to order. They were delicious and filling. We then headed back out for one last day on the road. The plains gave way to the soft, rolling cornfields of Iowa, which we asked whether they were Heaven. They were just Iowa.

We came after a couple of hours to Des Moines where we picked up lunch from a deli and brought it to my sister and her new baby. He was a sweet newborn with red hair whom the professor put right to sleep. We had a nice visit and then got back in the car for our last leg of the trip. The fields of Minnesota had rows of little green plants where they had only plowed rows of dirt three weeks before. The warm, green summer had fully arrived while we were away and we were happy to be back home.

Ending odometer: 175453
Total Trip Mileage: 6258.1