Well today was as close to perfect as it gets when traveling with small children. Some days it all goes to crap, but then you have those days when the sun is shining and you are just living your best life. Today was a good one. We drove up the Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitors Center in Rocky Mountain National Park, and then headed back down to check out the Alluvial Fan.
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We were a little worried about the weather so we opted to drive the Trail Ridge Road and just see how far we got.
We stopped as much as possible on the way up, just in case the weather was bad later. That turned out to be such a good decision. If you are driving this road and the weather is good, I would recommend stopping anywhere that looks interesting, don’t wait! Honestly it’s not often that we take a gamble like that and end up high-fiving ourselves later.
Our first stop was a little scenic viewpoint and small trail. There was some rock climbing available and I pulled out all my chill when Jake and Olivia wanted to climb. I did not freak out about it once today. Not even once. Jake was confused but I like when I can throw him off his game. Gotta keep things fresh ya know?
Stop at the Junior Ranger Headquarters!
We got lucky and happened to stop at the Junior Ranger Headquarters right as they were starting one of their ranger led programs. The talk was about fire safety and the park firefighters. All the kids got to use the fire hose, and it was huge hit with Olivia.
Rainbow Curve Overlook
We pulled over at Rainbow Curve Overlook, and it was perfect. Completely perfect. The views were stunning, but that wasn’t even the best part. There were friendly chipmunks!!!! We stopped and sat for about 20 minutes, and the whole time they were running up to us and climbing on us. I seriously have never heard Abby laugh that hard or for that long in my life. It was straight out of a Disney movie. I kept looking around for prince charming to come sweep me off my feet.
How is this even a real thing?
The girls were so happy, words cannot even.
We probably could have hung out with those chipmunks all day but we still wanted to make it to the higher into the park.
So this picture is steal my heart stunning, but being completely real with you, Olivia was totally melting down at this moment. The ground was very rocky and it was super easy to trip, and when we got out of the car she took off running. I did my mom duty and yelled NO RUNNING but she ignored me. She ate dirt about 30 seconds later and was inconsolable. Jake looks very peaceful in this photo but I don’t think the screaming in his ear added to the vibe of the mountain.
Picnic Lunch Along the Way
Shortly after this photo both girls passed out in their car seats. We ended up pulling over at a viewpoint and eating lunch next to the car with the best lunch view I’ve ever had.
We eventually made it to the Alpine Visitors Center, which is the highest visitors center in the NPS. Because the kids were still asleep, we both did the trail to the “top” individually while the other waited with the kids. Make it work people. Also. We took matching selfies because we are meant for each other.
It was pretty amazing there, and I definitely wasn’t the only one taking a ridiculous number of selfies.
We made our way down through the mountains eventually, and as we did all the clouds started rolling in. All the previously amazing views were now basically gone, replaced by a wall of white. That was cool to see too, but we were patting ourselves on the back for stopping when we did.
On the way down we stopped at the Alluvial Fan, after some confusion about what that actually was. It was a giant boulder filled playground for the kids and an epic mountain river for Jake. These are a few of their favorite things.
Shockingly, no one fell into the water. Also, the kids listened to us the entire time we were there. Miracles. The fact that they were still going strong at this point was mind blowing because it was already close to 5pm and we had been dragging them around the mountains all day.
When the sky starting really looking ominous we decided to head back the cabin and cook some dinner. Even though it sprinkled a little, the rain held out long enough for me to cook up a quick dinner, and for the kids to quickly reject that dinner.
Today was as close to perfect as it gets. Surely we can’t get this lucky two days in row? Being too optimistic feels like tempting fate, but what the hell! Clear skies and great hiking predicted for the morning (in my mind, which has lied before).
Want to read more about our adventures? Check out our other days in Rocky Mountain National Park!