Well, we made it to Rifle! It was a long two days of driving, but we managed and Elise did very well (aside from one little meltdown). We spent a night in a motel in Boise and had a good rest. There was a pool so we went for a late night swim, which Elise loved. The next day we pressed onward and stopped at as many playgrounds as we could find. We were glad to get the drive over with...
We have set up camp in Rifle and started to get into a routine of camping, climbing and sightseeing. The canyon is world famous for climbing and it sits at 7000 feet in elevation so the nights are quite cool. We survived an incredible thunderstorm on our third night and spent the night in our van (not the tent) to ensure dryness. The weather looks good for the next week. Here are some photos (click on the picture for a larger image):
The scenery along the drive got more interesting as we entered the Utah and Colorado deserts. This picture was taken just outside of Grand Junction, Colorado, not too far from Moab (Arches, Canyonlands, etc).
This is one of the walls in the Rifle park canyon. It shows the orange streaked limestone. The canyon is in the sub-alpine with forests of spruce and pine.
Our campsite is nestled in the trees beside Rifle creek. It's a pretty spot close to lots of flowers and fish! We have raccoons that visit each night and we've learned to lock up our food bins in the van!
This is a sign in the town of Rifle, Colorado. The town has "redneck" undertones. Note the subject of the sign: A discount on alcohol will be given to all hunters. In other words, if you are going into the forest with a loaded weapon to shoot at anything that moves, we'd like to give you some cheap alcohol to "improve" your experience. Yikes!
The wildflowers here are incredible right now.
Elise was excited to try some climbing the other day. We rigged a short route for her beside the road and she impressed the other climbers with her gumption. She told one fellow she was going to climb a "route", which is climber jargon for doing a pitch of rock climbing. He thought that was funny!
One highlight of the trip so far was fishing in Rifle creek. We brought Elise's Dora the Explorer fishing rod and I went to Walmart and bought some tackle and worms. I haven't fished in 25 years, so this was a blast from the past. We drove around until we found a good spot in the creek and got set. Elise did well. I told her she had to be very quiet or she'd scare the fish so she whispered the entire time. I let her hold the rod, but did the majority of fishing myself. We thought we were going to be unsuccessful, but at the last minute, I hooked a small rainbow trout! I quickly handed the rod to Elise and grabbed my camera! She pulled it in and we took some pictures before letting the poor thing back into the creek. "Catch and release" - we had to explain this concept to Elise who wanted to eat the fish for dinner. More fishing to come...
Check back again soon!