This image keeps catching my eye as I scan through photos from our recent trip to Colorado. It sums up our stage of life right now: every day feels like an adventure, whether we're climbing snow drifts in the middle of the Rocky Mountains or just playing in our own living room; the girls are constantly running in different directions as I struggle to keep up; and no one listens to my pleas to be careful. But these moments of observing our children discover and fall in love with the world around them make the chaos (and their reckless jumping off tall objects) all worth it. This is joy!
As you know if you follow my blog, I've had a decade-long love affair with Colorado. (I've taken many of my favorite nature photos there, and my novel is based there.) So I was ecstatic when my sister called to tell me she was engaged and planning a winter wedding just outside Rocky Mountain National Park.
We made a week of it and spent the first half up at our home away from home, Summit County. Below you'll find photos from this portion of our trip (all iPhone), and I'll post the wedding weekend photos next week. May these photos be your last glimpse of snow this winter...
Below: The Front Range of the Rocky Mountains juts up from the plains on our final approach into Denver. Oh, how I love this approach.
This snowy, early morning stroll/climb around Lake Dillon was one of the highlights of the trip.
Let's talk about skiing. I grew up with an ice skating rink across the street in a neighborhood surrounded by cross-country ski trails. You won't hear me complain about the warm climate where we're raising our kids in a few weeks when it's hot and sunny, but I do regret that snow sports are foreign to them; snow was such an important part of my formative years. I really wanted to get both girls on downhill skis on this trip so they would start loving snow and have a shot at being more than mediocre skiers as adults, like their mom (I didn't actually learn to downhill ski until I was 15).
Below: Top L to R: Pre-wedding skiing with the bride and groom. Nora's first moments on skis = tears. The girls trying on their ski boots and freestyling around the shop (C was jumping off those two steps while doing kicks and spins—ahh!). Middle L to R: Ski picnic. The bride dropping in. My niece, Iris, taking after her Olympic skier grandpa. Bottom L to R: Cricket throwing snowballs in lieu of skiing. Meg and Christo with the bride. The bride and me. (Thanks to Mari, Andy and Christo for taking the photos I'm in.)
Unfortunately Cricket was under the weather on our ski days and refused—after the excitement and anticipation at the ski shop—to give it a try. Instead she busied herself throwing snowballs and building snow forts. Just watching her enjoy playing in the snow made me happy, though. Nora—after some initial tears—became enamored with skiing and riding the magic carpet. Heartbroken does not begin to describe how she felt when the lift closed for the day.
Mid-week we packed up the car, drove down from 9,600 feet to the mile high city of Denver, then headed north to the wedding in another high-altitude canyon by way of Boulder. Stay tuned for photos of the wedding weekend next week.
Below: Ranch drive-by as we headed into Boulder.
Below: Cow-speckled landscape where the mountains meet the plains.
I'm Julia Soplop, writer and photographer. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.