DENVER, MT. RUSHMORE & THE BADLANDS
Category:
09/13/16

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If you follow my blog or if we’re friends on social media, you know by now that Will and I recently took a trip to Denver and Mount Rushmore. A trip through which a lifelong childhood dream of seeing Mount Rushmore was fulfilled. If you aren’t caught up on the details about that, read more about it HERE.

Alright, now that you’re all caught up, we’ll continue :) We took a quick trip out West to Denver, through Wyoming, to Mount Rushmore, through the Badlands, through Nebraska, then through Fort Collins. We did SO much in just a 2.5 day period of time that I almost can’t believe it! We had such a fun time. It was truly an adventure that we’ll remember forever!

As with almost every trip we ever go on, there were a few hiccups — I was sick with a bad cold the whole trip, we almost got rained out of the Rockies baseball game, and it was FREEZING (but we packed for 80 degree Summer weather)… just to name a few. But, as always, despite it all, I was determined to have a blast — and I did (I  should say we did. Will was there with me, of course, and he had fun too!) I am a firm believer in that having a good attitude changes everything and makes life more enjoyable ;-)

I’m going to tell the story in sequential order (like I typically do) scattered in-between photos — and videos! Enjoy!

*Photos are from a combination of our professional camera and our iPhones*

denver-mt-rushmore_0001denver-mt-rushmore_0002We started our trip landing in Denver on Friday afternoon, went to pickup our Jeep Wrangler rental (which Will was SUPER excited about), only to stand there waiting on them to find a Jeep Wrangler for almost an hour. After awhile, they finally said they were going to just upgrade us to a Ford Mustang. It was pretty cool :) Even though Will was hoping for that Jeep, we thoroughly enjoyed the Mustang.   2016-08-19-15-11-43 Once we checked into our hotel and dropped our luggage off in our room, we hopped back into our sweet ride to go to the Colorado Rockies baseball game (just as a big storm was about to roll in)2016-08-19-15-52-32 It was FREEZING cold, windy, wet, and rainy. I believe it got down to 47 degrees.  Not at all what we packed for since it was in the middle of the Summer in August (weather.com had forecasted temps in the 80’s). Needless to say, my tank top and sandals weren’t going to cut it ;-)

We are now the proud owners of a fleece throw blanket that says “Coors Field” on it and I now have a child’s size large Colorado Rockies hoodie (they were all sold out of adult hoodies because everyone was buying warm clothes for the game… again, it was FREEZING!).

After a 2+ hour rain delay, the game finally started! It went into 11 innings with the Rockies winning at the last minute around 1am (which was about 5 minutes after we decided to leave and go back to our hotel because it was late and cold and we were tired. We ended up accidentally seeing the game winning hit right before we walked out of the stadium!) It was a fun, fun night!!

Fun Fact: Our seats were exactly 1 mile above sea level!

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The next morning, we got up bright and early and drove and hour and a half up to Mount Evans. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. Will’s exact words upon seeing these trees — “This is so Bob Ross” ;-)

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VIDEO: Our gorgeous drive up Mount Evans

At the top of Mount Evans… well, almost.2016-08-20-10-30-33-1

Quick story… We got to the parking area at Mount Evans and were planning on walking up to the summit (which is . About 50 steps in, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to do it. I was sick with a cold, I also have asthma (can’t do too much physical exertion without some asthma issues), and when you’re 14,000ft high the air is thin, which makes it hard to breathe. I literally couldn’t catch my breath. Oh also, it was SUPER cold and windy — making it even harder to breathe. We made the decision that I would stay down by the car and Will would hike up by himself. He took these next two shots at the summit!

denver-mt-rushmore_0006 denver-mt-rushmore_0008 In my Rockies hoodie and wrapped in my Coor’s Field blanket — and freeeeezing cold — and loving every minute!denver-mt-rushmore_0012denver-mt-rushmore_0013   Succulents! <3denver-mt-rushmore_0020  denver-mt-rushmore_0014denver-mt-rushmore_0019This was right around the time we picked up 2 hitchhikers :)  Don’t worry, it was two young college girls who had hiked a long way and were still 2 miles from their car, but too exhausted to continue. We drove them down to their car and they were super thankful :) We saved the day! Yay!denver-mt-rushmore_0025 Hottie ;-)denver-mt-rushmore_0031 denver-mt-rushmore_0027 denver-mt-rushmore_0032

VIDEO: On the mountaintop!

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VIDEO: Driving back down Mount Evans

denver-mt-rushmore_0038 denver-mt-rushmore_0039 Selfies on top of a mountain….denver-mt-rushmore_0041 denver-mt-rushmore_0026  Once we got back down the mountain, it was time to start our 6.5 hour drive to Mount Rushmore! The drive through Wyoming was pretty boring and uneventful, yet also so relaxing, peaceful, and enjoyable. We had fun!denver-mt-rushmore_0047 denver-mt-rushmore_0048 Pretty Wyoming…denver-mt-rushmore_0046 Craaaaazy Horse Memorial! denver-mt-rushmore_0049 Approaching Mount Rushmore… this is when the butterflies started :)denver-mt-rushmore_0050

VIDEO: Almost at Mount Rushmore!

I have had this dream of seeing Mount Rushmore for about 20 years now, so when the time came to actually see it, I didn’t want to see it from a parking lot or anything like that. I wanted to see it see it without anything obscuring my view. So I got out of the car and walked up to the viewing area with my head down/eyes closed the whole time (Will held my hand and led the way). The time finally came for me to open my eyes… it was even cooler than I imagined :)

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My moment…

 

I’ve dreamt of taking this photo for years…

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VIDEO: Proof that I was there

(Don’t judge our videography skills, though I know they are terrible! We’re photographers, not videographers… cut us some slack ;-)

denver-mt-rushmore_0060 Far too many photos of Mount Rushmore, I know. But when a dream this big is fulfilled, I have to share alot of photos. Sorry not sorry ;-)denver-mt-rushmore_0052denver-mt-rushmore_0062 denver-mt-rushmore_0063

We ate a delicious dinner in downtown Rapid City before checking into our hotel and sleeping so very soundly…

The next morning, it was time to road trip to the Badlands!

2016-08-21-08-30-56 2016-08-21-08-40-03 Oh my freaking goodness, you guys! The Badlands are AMAZING! denver-mt-rushmore_0067 denver-mt-rushmore_0068 denver-mt-rushmore_0064 denver-mt-rushmore_0074We were in awe the entire time…denver-mt-rushmore_0075 denver-mt-rushmore_0079 Behind the scenes of taking that photo ;-)image000000-copydenver-mt-rushmore_0086 denver-mt-rushmore_0087

Doesn’t it kind of look like Mars or something?

denver-mt-rushmore_0092 denver-mt-rushmore_0097 There were cute little mountain goats (I think that’s what they were?) along the side of the road and on the tops of the formations! So cool!denver-mt-rushmore_0071Apparently we like to do this whole arms wide/mouth open thing alot…denver-mt-rushmore_0090denver-mt-rushmore_0076 denver-mt-rushmore_0082 Our sweet ride…denver-mt-rushmore_0085  Cute little prairie dogs all over the place!denver-mt-rushmore_0095We love the Badlands!!denver-mt-rushmore_0096

We finished up at the Badlands around lunchtime, then had to head on back down to Colorado — Fort Collins to be exact — for a special bonus fun adventure (you’ll see more about that on the blog tomorrow!)

We decided to go back to Colorado by way of Nebraska instead of Wyoming just so that we can say we’ve been through another new state (we visited 4 new states that trip: Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska).  Nebraska doesn’t seem to have much to offer in terms of food and attractions along road trip routes — our GPS even took us on a dirt road through the middle of nowhere for 25 miles.

VIDEO: The dirt roads of Nebraska

…But there were lots of pretty sunflowers to look at <3

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I did manage to find one pretty cool thing through the Roadtrippers app (awesome app, BTW). I decided to keep it a secret from Will and just told him to keep driving and I’d tell him when to turn.

I think I win “coolest surprise stop along the road in Nebraska” award… It’s CARHENGE!!

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Our trip was coming to an end, but not before we made a pit stop in Fort Collins, Colorado for a special, super exciting surprise! We planned our very own photoshoot with an amazing photographer, Anna Shackleford! Ahh! It was so gorgeous out there and working with Anna and her husband, Daniel, was so. much. fun!  The photos from that shoot will be on the blog tomorrow, but here’s a sneak peek in the meantime…

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After our shoot with Anna in GORGEOUS Fort Collins, we headed back to our hotel in Denver before catching our flight back home early the next morning.

Ya’ll! This trip, though short and jam packed full of events, was SO much fun and even relaxing, if you can imagine that. Will may feel like it was slightly less relaxing for him than it was for me (he drove the whole time).  On our way back home to Alabama, we we’re already discussing our next trip out West ;-)

Make sure you check back tomorrow to see the photos from mine and Will’s photoshoot with the amazing Anna Shackleford! I am so in love with our photos from that shoot and I cannot wait to share them with you guys!

 

 

 

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One Response

  1. Reply Amber

    Super fun! Yay!! :)