My mother rented a lovely property on the outskirts of town, called The Ranch House. Actually, there are two houses, and the property can accommodate up to 18 people. The setting is ideal, nestled in the mountains, with gorgeous views.
|Watching the sunset on our first night|
We stayed at this same house four years ago when my dad was still alive. It was bittersweet being here again. We didn't have a very large crowd this year. We topped out one night with 12 of us, so we had plenty of space to sprawl.
Days were filled with hiking. The weather was much cooler than it's been in past years, which was pleasant. We were never tempted to polar plunge on a hike.
One of our favorite hikes is the hike to Ouzel Falls. We've done it before, but never tire of it. The trail has its ups and downs, but is fairly easy, plus we pass several waterfalls.
|The soothing sound of the water is appealing|
|Eileen, Anne and Mary in front of the falls|
Another day, we hiked the Gem Lake Trail, but turned around early before reaching the lake due to the lightning and threatening weather.
|Eileen, Mary, Jason and Anne take a breather on route toward Gem Lake|
|Love the greenery and the floral scenery|
It is nice to relax on vacation and not be in any particular hurry. There is a lovely lake within a 15-minute-drive of the Ranch House called Lily Lake. A flat trail circles the lake. It is less than a mile to walk the loop, and a perfect trail for my 84-year-old mom to do with us.
|Mary, Mom and Eileen relax at Lily Lake after our walk|
|Purple Mountain Harebell catches our attention|
|As do the bright sunflowers|
|Rocky Mountain thistle|
We were fortunate with not only the flora, but also the fauna. Gerry was prepared, with his good camera and the telephoto lens.
|We spot a few moose before we hit the hiking trail one afternoon|
We took a drive one morning along the famous Trail Ridge Road, otherwise know as the Highway to the Sky.
|We see this herd of elk from afar on Trail Ridge Road|
|Isn't this pica cute?|
We enjoyed home-cooked gourmet meals each evening. One night my mother served homemade stew. Gerry grilled salmon another evening. We also feasted on lasagna, and rotisserie chicken. All were delicious, but I'd have to pick Jason's dinner of tomato-garlic pasta with chicken sausage, kale, salad and crusty bread as my favorite meal of the trip.
I'm glad for the time together with my family, and grateful to my mother for renting the property.
|Back row - John, Eileen, Anne, Jason, Uncle Neil & Gerry |
Front row - April, Aunt Ann, Mom, Mary, Dylan and Nell