Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our National Park Tradition

I feel another "significant" post brewing, but it will wait for another day. Today, I bring pictures from our recent trip to Rocky Mountain National Park and one of my favorite stories about Aimee.

National Parks were/are an obsession of ours--I still have our map of all National Parks hanging in the basement (with color-coded pins indicated which family member has been where). In 2000, Aimee and I took a road trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. We camped for five nights--four of them in Yellowstone--and enjoyed all the sights. The view of the Tetons from Jackson Lake... spectacular. We rented a boat, a small craft with an outboard motor, and headed onto the lake. The boat's owner gave us a bit of advice which caused contention:

Stay within a mile of shore.

Of course, Aimee (being the adventurous type she was), aimed the boat for the mountains and gave it the gun. My knuckles whitened as I clutched the gunnels.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Staying a mile away from shore like he said," she said.

"No. No. No." I glanced over my shoulder at the swelling waves. The tiny boat would easily capsize in the middle of Jackson Lake. "He said within a mile of shore."

She didn't agree, of course, but the look of sheer-animal-panic on my face convinced her to turn our ship around. Aimee and I weren't able to share enough National Park adventures before her death (could there ever be enough National Park adventures?), but the boys and I will keep going...

I hiked to Fern Lake early on Saturday morning, the date which would have been our 11th wedding anniversary. Aimee and I made the same hike on our 6th wedding anniversary (June 16, 2007), just over a year after Max was born. I was early enough to miss the crowd (it's a tough hike, but a popular one) and have some alone time with the lake, the trees, the mountains, and my thoughts.

Elliot was not impressed by the lack of oxygen above tree line.

Max, Owen, and I on top of the world. Okay, at least on top of a granite formation on Trail Ridge Road. 

Max and Owen showed me how to scramble on the rocks near a waterfall. Going down was easier than up.

Owen, Elliot (in the stroller), and Max on the lookout for yellow bellied marmots. We always find marmots at the "alpine communities" stop on Trail Ridge Road.

Take care, and happy adventuring.


Unknown said...

I love Rocky Mountain National Park. Living less than an hour away from it sure helps to see it all. We've always enjoyed taking flatlanders up there, too. A few friends from Kansas City had never been in any real mountains before, and Trail Ridge Road was absolutely terrifying for them. That, or we were just taking the corners a bit too quick.

Lately we've been having to go on back country jeep roads to avoid tourists. You and your boys might have to try it sometime.

KSU Ladybug said...

We'll be there in three days. Your pictures increase my desire to be there NOW. Your boys are incredible, Aaron. Thanks for making great memories for them!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures, so glad you're keeping the tradition you and Aimee started together. Now I want to go there with my hubby on a motorcycle ride. I've not been there when there's no snow. Happy hiking!
Sherrie Wright

Danielle Birch said...

We're fond of camping too and I particularly love hiking through national parks. It's a great family tradition and I love that you're continuing it with your boys.