Bryce's photo taken on her hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.
     Yay!  We got Bryce for 10 days in Colorado.  During her visit we were kept very busy touring the Pike's Peak area and Rocky Mountain National Park.
     On Bryce's first day we decided to take the 19 mile drive to the summit of Pike's Peak.  This turned out to be quite an adventure as the road is 2 lanes with no guardrails and shear drop-offs of thousands of feet.  Pike's Peak is 14,110' and, at the top, every physical effort is accompanied with lightheadedness and shortness of breath.  Since Bryce is a little acrophobic and was coming from 0' above sea-level to one of the highest peaks in the "lower 48," she spent a good part of the trip laying down in the car with her eyes closed.

On the road to Pike's Peak.
Pike's Peak

It was the view from the summit of Pike's Peak that inspired
Katharine Lee Bates to compose
"America the Beautiful."
     The drive has to be one of the most scenic in the USA.  On our journey up, we discovered evidence of the existence of "Bigfoot."  Also, since we were on the peak the morning of July 4th, we were treated to a big surprise when 2 fighter jets from the USAF base buzzed the summit while waving their wings at us.  They seemed to be so close you could almost touch them and they were gone in seconds.  What a fantastic sight!
In pursuit of Bigfoot!
Nancy taking a break on the road to Pikes Peak.
     Later that day we toured the cute mountain town of Manitou Springs and enjoyed the evening fireworks display.  A perfect end to a very busy 4th of July.
     The next day we visited "The Garden of the Gods" which is a Colorado Springs city park full of large red boulders and towering red rock cliffs.  You don't expect to see this kind of beauty in a city park.  The park is very popular with locals and tourists so, we went early and completed our tour of this large park before the multitudes jammed into the place.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods
    Later that day we attended a local bar, Jack Quinn's, to watch the big event:  The women's world cup soccer championship game-USA v Japan.  Jack Quinn's is a traditional Irish Pub with good food, live Irish Music, and a second floor for events.  The pub is housed in an old Colorado Springs building.  It turned out that Bryce is a member of the Connecticut Chapter of the "American Outlaws" and the Colorado Springs chapter of the "American Outlaws" was holding an event on the second floor to watch the game and we were invited.  The "American Outlaws" are the crazy fans you see at USA soccer games dressed in USA garb and making a lot of noise.  Hundreds of "American Outlaws" packed themselves into Jack Quinn's.  Unless you were early, it was standing room only. The chanting and jumping and banging on the tables created a very loud, fun environment.  And when the USA scored, people started jumping and dancing and hooting and hollering with such force that I thought the old building was going to collapse.  I can't imagine what the commotion sounded like for the downstairs patrons.  We were lucky enough to score a table in the center of all the action and ended up being interviewed by the Colorado Springs Gazette and getting our picture in the paper. Great game-great result-great fun!
American Outlaws
Colorado Springs Chapter
USA just scored a GOOOOOOOOOOAL!!!
     Next it was on to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Another fantastic gem in our national park system.  We had to dodge raindrops for the first couple of days so we toured the cute, but crowed town of Estes Park and the vibrant, large town of Boulder.  We enjoyed downtown Boulder; a very cool place with closed off streets for heaps of vendors, street entertainers, shops, and restaurants.  To avoid the rain we saw "Jurassic World" and upon departing from the movie the sun came out.  We were then able to see Boulder in its full glory at the base of the rockies with the stark mountain faces towering over the town.
The view across the alpine tundra in
Rocky Mountain National Park.
Long's Peak makes an appearance!
     The next day the sun came out in full force so we set out touring the national park.  The park is stunning.  Wildlife was rampant and herds of elk seemed to be everywhere.  Once again, the drive over the Continental Divide presented another challenge for Bryce as the car seemed to hang over infinitely deep abysses at every turn.  The scenery was fantastic and the mountain town of Grand Lake on the other side of the divide was well worth the visit.
A young elk visits our campsite.
An elk herd in Rocky Mountain NP

On the road over the continental divide.
     One of my highlights was a 7 mile day hike with Bryce.  Bryce wanted to take a hike and see a waterfall so I took her to Alberta Falls.  The falls were beautiful, but the hike beyond the falls into the back-country turned out to gain around 1,500' in elevation and since the hike was at an altitude of approximately 10,000', Bryce was pretty drained on the uphill stretches.  The hike turned out to be unbelievably beautiful as we travelled up glacial valleys to beautiful alpine lakes, in the shadow of peaks soaring thousands of feet above us.
Alberta Falls
One of the alpine lakes on our trail.
A view on our hike.
     Sadly, Bryce's visit came to a close, but we will "soldier on" with our tour of Colorado.