Camping in Estes Park, Colorado

It was a Monday morning at the tail end of summer. I found myself in a hot house with two bored kids, a traveling spouse and a severe case of wanderlust…or maybe just a case of “how do I stop them from making me crazy?!” Either way, we decided it would be best to get out and explore. We packed the car and hit the road with no plan!


On our way out the door we chose Estes Park as our destination! Kayla searched for campsites on her iPhone as we drove north. The most appealing name was “Mary’s Lake Campground”, so that’s where we went. FYI, the campsites are not actually next to the lake. We were a little sad about that, but we did find a nice quiet spot!


Take a look at my trunk. I like using plastic containers to organize our belongings and to keep them clean and dry. These awesome plastic drawers work as a dresser in the tent…hint, hint 😉2014-09-16_0015


There is nothing like the simplicity of camping. In fact, I may never visit a theme park again! Oliver was content making circles in the dirt. Kayla enjoyed carving sticks with her knife. It turns out we made the right choice; I was able to relax and read and the kids were happy!


On Tuesday we ventured into Rocky Mountain National Park. We started at Beaver Mountain Visitor’s Center where we were informed that many of the parking lots were full. Rangers advised us to take the shuttle. Let me warn you, summertime is busy here and it felt like DisneyWorld while we stood in the shuttle line behind 200 people. The park offers magnificent scenery with well maintained trails. If you can visit  the park after school starts…do it!


At each trail head, mileage is listed along with the difficulty of the trail…which is really helpful when traveling with a 3 year old! Luckily his big sister enjoys snuggling him when he’s tired.


On Wednesday we found a stable that offered trail rides. Kayla loves horses and Oliver was intrigued by the idea of riding! Oliver rode on my lap (but we still paid full price;) and Kayla had the perfect spot right behind the guide. Look how happy she is!


In the afternoon we enjoyed exploring the shops in Estes Park. My kids quickly noted that about every other door lead to sweets. Caramel apples, taffy, chocolate covered marshmallows, giant cookies…you name it, anything sweet lives in Estes Park. It made me wonder if tourists thought this was a typical Rocky Mountain town. Just to clarify, I’ve never seen so many sweet shops in a one-mile radius in the last 25 years in Colorado. This is unique to Estes Park; so we embraced the experience!


Our outdoor sweet tasting was cut short by a sudden downpour…a typical mountain afternoon. We were glad to have our rain jackets as we noticed the unprepared visitors running for cover. We splashed in the puddles and enjoyed the moisture!


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