To celebrate this fact, we took a trip out west. We have journeyed west before but we have never enjoyed the mountains. Thomas took the liberties to plan the whole gig, and he found a magnificent cabin right outside of Colorado Springs. Here is the view from the hot tub (or the couch), along with a photo of our “home sweet home” for a few days:
I, of course, liked to imagine what it would have been like to have lived there, in that homestead, in the late 1800s. The owners kept a great historical account of the land and the family in a book available for guests to read. The acreage was originally purchased by a single lady Imoda (I think that was how you spelled it) in the late 1800s. She later married and soon after gave birth to a daughter. About a year after her first child was born, she gave birth to a son. Shortly after his birth, she died from complications. It was interesting to know so much about the land on which I was residing without it being a major historical marker. Two lives were brought into the world right there in that tiny house above and one life was lost right inside of it as well. It was just intriguing, and I enjoyed the solitude that the land provided, along with the rich history.
While in CO, we met with a college friend and his new fiance in the city of Denver at a comfort food restaurant that was also hip, called Steuben’s. I had an entree of mac-n-cheese. Yum!
Denver had some interesting sculptures throughout the town that were fun to see. There was also a cool art show happening in the middle of a pedestrian mall. While observing the art, I heard “Summer??!!” and I turned to find a girl that use to live down the hall from me in the dorms while I was in college. It was SO random. She is very talented, and it was funny that I was fascinated with her art before I realized I actually knew whose art it was! I also knew her husband, but we did not manage to see him, unfortunately.
While away, we were able to visit the Garden of the Gods. The location gets its name because the natives had once said it was so beautiful that the gods must have come down from the heavens to play. There was certainly a perfect and picturesque view every which way you turned. We hiked though the grounds many miles, completely in awe of our surroundings.
The day after Garden of the Gods, we got up before the sun and headed to Pike’s Peak, one of Colorado’s 14ers. We planned to hike Barr Trail about 13 miles to the summit and take the cog train, which takes passengers to the top for summit viewing, down, back to our vehicle.
As we started the morning hiking, it was cool and overcast. As we ascended the mountain, it was amazing to literally hike into the clouds. We stood in them as the swirled away to make room for the sun of the day. No picture can do it justice. It was just amazing.
Despite living in a town that the Internet tells me is less than 400 feet above sea level, we were able to handle the drastic elevation change quite well. It helped that our cabin was at 8,00 feet, so we had slept at a great height for two nights. It was a bit of a challenge when we first started, for it was almost like the effort that you were exerting was about half of what your body felt like it was giving. Fortunately, as we ascended higher and higher, we acclimated quite well considering we were beginning the hike at about 6,500 above sea level and aiming for over 14, 000 at the conclusion.
We knew that our anniversary trip was a little early in the season to attempt a summit, but we at least wanted to give it a shot. We had noticed, from our excellent cabin view, that the snow was less every day and it even dwindled quite nicely by late afternoon. That gave us a little bit of hope. The only catch would be our way down, the cog train. If it was not summitting, we had a problem because we knew we could not hike the 26 miles from top to bottom, with the lack of daylight being just one of the reasons. And even though there is a campsite about half-way, that was not our objective, so we did not have any gear. (Side note: they do in fact run a marathon up and back down this mountain. That truly does blow my mind. The record holder is a local who holds both the half and the whole best times. His winning speed? I forgot the whole but the half, 13 miles up a mountain, he did in 2 hours and 1 minute. Wow!)
After hiking about 5 1/2 miles, which is just under halfway, we realized that it was too windy for our train to summit. No train summiting, means no Summer and Thomas summiting (see sign photo above). Summit was recording 80mph winds, so the train was not risking it. We, therefore, turned around and began to head down, for we wanted to be able to catch our train and ride it up as far as it was offering.
The train provided us with a great history lesson and some humor along the ride. Thomas took some artsy photos, which made me happy.
Lounging in the hot tub, cooking a few meals, sipping on wine, reading books, and just enjoying each others company was basically what made up the rest of the trip. We appreciated not having Internet for a few days.
Going to the mountains was a great way to reflect on our 8 years in marriage. We, in fact, went to the mountains on our honeymoon, but the Smokies are much less dramatic than the Rockies. All in all though, it was the same purpose 8 years later: to enjoy being together and being in love.
Our trip came right after a sermon given by our pastor on how empty nesters now hold the new #1 divorce rate. Why? Because for around 20 years mommies pour their everything into their children, neglecting themselves and not prioritizing their marriage. Daddies just go with the flow and begin to pull away from their wives. One day, the kids are gone and you realize you do not know that person next to you. You do not even know yourself. As he said “You said ‘I do’ to your spouse, not your kids. It goes God, Spouse, and then kids!” So, it felt good to take a break from the day to day tasks, to let our children enjoy grandma for a few days, and to go and invest in our marriage.
I’m such a blessed gal! I love you Thomas! Here’s to 8 wonderful years down and many more years together.