Family Vacation to Estes Park!

So, I’ve been putting off blogging about our vacation because I just couldn’t figure out how to go about it. We experienced and learned so much, I just wasn’t sure how to get that all in one blog. And plus, I have just been lazy and didn’t want to type it all out. ๐Ÿ™‚ How’s that for being honest?

I think I”ll just break it up day by day and see what happens! Here goes!

Day 1: Flying to Colorado

Andrew and I were pretty nervous about flying with Abby. I think it was mainly fear of the unknown. We just didn’t know how she was going to respond. But of course, she did great. Abby loves to be around people, so she had a good ol’ time laughing and smiling for all the passengers around us. Thankfully, we had a couple of other families with small children sitting by us, so they were completely understanding. Abby ended up falling asleep for half of the flight and slept through the VERY bumpy landing. She enjoyed being bumped around, I on the other hand, did not. Let’s just say the the combination of being pregnant + being hot + holding a heavy sleeping baby = nausea! Thankfully I had my wonderful husband sitting next to me fanning me as fast as he could with the barf bag. Let’s just say the the barf bag was only used as a fan….thank goodness!

waiting in the airport

In Colorado!

The 2 hour drive into Estes Park went well…we were so glad to be there. We were greeted with cool weather and gorgeous scenery!

Day 2: “Hiking” to Bear Lake and Poppy’s

While we were getting ready for the trip I took on the task of planning out our days. Since I grew up going on family vacations to Estes Park I thought it would be fun to share with Andrew and Abby all of the things we used to do while being there. Of course, I did not take into consideration that we were going in May (off season…or basically winter) and we always went there in July. BIG difference.

Of course our first trip into Rocky Mountain National Park deserves a picture!


Our first “hike”, and I use that term loosely, was supposed to be to Bear Lake. A fairly easy trail…one that would be good to break us in, get us used to the altitude change. Well, this is what we found upon arriving to the trail head:

Bear Lake trail

Hmmm….not what I had remembered. Sadly, we left all our crampons at home (catch the sarcasm) and could not make the hike. I’m pretty sure our tennis shoes would not cut it. I was really disappointed…..but soon realized that my expectation just had to change, and that I needed to be more flexible. And if any of you know me well, you know that is not easy for me. It probably worked out for the best, Andrew and I soon realized that we are in HORRIBLE shape. That fact became obvious to us as we were sucking wind just walking up the parking lot. I blame it on being pregnant….I’m not sure what Andrew blamed it on. ๐Ÿ™‚ We did catch a few pictures before leaving:

ready to hike!

This one cracks me up…look at Abby’s face! She is like…”Mom…what are you doing? You are SO WEIRD!”

The best family shot we could get!

After that we decided to head back to our cabin and let Abby catch a nap. She had had a rough night and needed some sleep (and so did we)!

On the menu for dinner was Poppy’s. We went to this restaurant A LOT with my family…and by a lot, I mean like multiple times in a day. So I knew it was a place I had to take Andrew. We shared a pizza and enjoyed our first dinner in Estes! It was fun to share that memory with my family.

At Poppy's..Abby was really excited!

Andrew and Abby at Poppy's

That night we all crashed. It was a long day, but lots of fun!

Day 3: Visiting the Alluvial Fan and our “fancy pants” meal

Since we had such a rough time hiking on Monday we decided to do something a little easier. We went and visited the Alluvial Fan which is basically the sight were a dam broke. It’s pretty cool to see how all the trees fell and the huge waterfall. I knew this place would not be snowy and we would have a better chance of walking the path. Except we did not realize how windy and cold it would be! We all felt pretty miserable, so this little hike was pretty short. Andrew did enjoy seeing it and got some good pictures.

Part of the Alluvial Fan

Abby at the Alluvial Fan

After visiting the Fan we decided to drive to a couple of scenic points in the Park. It is all so beautiful, it almost takes your breath away.

Beautiful view

Another beautiful view

After driving around we headed into town for a smoothie (which was also a required part of our trip) and to walk around downtown. I got a mixed berry smoothie and Andrew got a chocolate raspberry milkshake. You would think after being so cold we would be smarter than that, but oh no! We pressed on and enjoyed every last bit of our icy drinks!


Please ignore the fact that I look like death in this picture…no mascara=one tired looking Kari. ๐Ÿ™‚


On every trip Andrew and I take we always have one really nice meal. So, of course we planned one for this trip. We get to the restaurant and it is a nice (not too fancy), quiet atmosphere. But, as fate would have it, Abby decides that she does not want to be in a quite place. She wants to be loud, and cranky. After trying to entertain her and keep her happy, Andrew tells the waiter that our “timer is going off” and we need to leave. Thankfully, we did get to have our dinner (which was not worth how much it cost) and he quickly got our check to us. I”m pretty sure “fancy pants” meals our not in our future. That’s ok, I”d just rather a cheeseburger anyway!

After our fancy meal

Day 4: Snow…and more snow!

We woke up to a blanket of snow! It was so gorgeous! I had never really been around this much snow before..and it just kept on coming! We decided to take it easy that morning, since we didn’t know how bad the weather would get. After we had a lazy morning we decided to drive over to one of the main cabins at the YMCA (where we were staying) and hang out by one of their big fireplaces. This was great fun! It was nice to get out of the cabin, and Abby enjoyed people watching.

the YMCA statue covered in snow


Hanging by the fire

By the fire

A couple of hours later we decided that the roads were clear and it was safe for us to drive into town for dinner. This was our last night in Estes…so we decided to eat somewhere yummy.

Somewhere yummy lead us to the Peak to Peak restaurant. I got a yummy hamburger and Andrew got some sort of grilled chicken dish. I’m pretty sure he had dinner envy after seeing and tasting my burger. It was a delicious meal and we had lots of fun talking and laughing about our trip.

Family shot at Peak to Peak

Later that night we soon realized why Abby had been so cranky all day…she was getting sick! Poor baby was running a fever and had a snotty nose. Upon realizing this, I started dreading putting her to bed. Abby typically does not sleep well when she is sick, and add to that being in another really is a recipe for disaster. Our fears became a reality when we were up with her for most of the night. But really, can you get upset at a poor little girl who is feeling awful. No, or course not. We knew it meant a REALLY ย long day of traveling ahead of us, but what can you do? All I can say is thank goodness for an amazing husband who does so much! We really work as a team when it comes to Abby (and everything else), and I am so thankful for that.

After a long, hard night we got up early the next morning, finished packing and said “goodbye!” to Estes Park. Even with being sick, Abby did wonderfully the whole day. She was such a trooper….and we were all SO ย glad to be home. Needless to say, we all crashed pretty hard that night.

I’d say our first family vacation was a huge success. Parts of it were hard, and afterwards Andrew and I felt like we needed a vacation to rest from our vacation, but we wouldn’t take it back for the world. After we had Abby we decided that we would not let having a baby keep us from doing the things we love to do (traveling) and that we would make it work even with an infant. We now have so many memories to look back on and hope that one day, Abby will cherish family vacations as much as we do.

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2 Responses to “Family Vacation to Estes Park!”

  1. Andrew

    I blame my “sucking air” on the twenty-pounder that was strapped to my chest. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Kelli

    So glad you guys had a good trip! Abby looks precious as usual in your pictures!

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