My Cheeks Hurt

June 26, 2023

Do you ever have those days where your cheeks hurt from smiling so much? I can remember my wedding day being one of them and today was certainly another one. We gave ourselves a reprieve from driving and got to play tourist in Colorado Springs. We had the nicest leisurely morning lounging at our campsite. It’s conveniently located next to a dam so the sound of rushing water and warm sunshine was such a welcome sound and feeling for all of us.

We started our day at the Garden of the Gods which couldn’t be named more appropriately because the rock formations that we climbed over and witnessed were nothing short of an act of God. We arrived at the visitor’s center to find the most breathtaking views and thought we had seen it all. Boy were we in for a surprise! We hiked out the Central Garden Trail to Gateway rock, Three Sisters Plaza, and other rock formations. They all have great names and I especially like the last one.

We finished a wonderful hike at the Garden of the Gods and had purchased advanced tickets to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It was up a huuuge mountain. Driving there was no problem for Greg but this time I decided for both of our stress levels I should let Addy be the navigator and I should sit in the back. Worked out great!!! We were lucky to make it to the zoo where I spotted the only double parking spot available in the whole place. Somehow Greg backed us in on the first try and we were off.

I can’t say enough about this zoo and the fact that it is ranked in the top 4 within the country speaks for itself. We walked in and the first thing we saw were 10-12 giraffes. People were buying lettuce and then when they got bored of feeding the giraffes they gave it to our kids and boy did we have fun with that. We saw wallabies, elephants, grizzly bears, mountain lions, peacocks, emus, and the list goes on. It was such a neat and interactive zoo. We climbed to the very top of this one structure to see the grizzly bears and were not only blessed with actually seeing them but witnessing the most spectacular view of Colorado Springs. We could easily see for 15-20 miles!!! It was so stunning.

Our day almost finished there but we did a quick run to Walmart for the necessities and came home to throw the kids into the waterpark and pool. Maggie and Eric played together in the heated pool and Addy went up and down the waterslides for an hour straight. She didn’t care that the water was freezing and windy.

I think it was precisely at this point in the day when I had my feet up watching our kids play that I looked at Greg and said, “my cheeks hurt from smiling so much”. We are still pinching ourselves at the fact that we are out here doing this trip and so far everyone is loving it. Yes, we have our moments living in tight quarters but there have certainly been more laughter than squabbles and that’s all we can ask for.

Tomorrow we take off for Moab, Utah. I think it should be about a 5 hour drive and we are hoping to leave early enough to really enjoy some hiking around the Arches. Addy keeps saying she has low expectations for every place she goes to but I have a feeling this place is going to blow her mind.

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