Part 4 is here – better late than never!

The last leg of our trip was to a place in the middle of nowhere called Bogan Flats Campground. It’s right along the Crystal River and our site backed right up to it. This place was serene, beautiful, and incredibly relaxing. It was definitely the best place to end our awesome trip. We did a lot of hanging out, playing in the river, reading, and listening to the rush of the water. One morning we saw a mother doe and her two fawns crossing the river about 40 yards away from us. The current was kind of strong, and the mother kept going back into it to show her babies how to cross safely. It was so amazing to be able to witness something like that. Once they were all safely across, they trotted through the campground right next to our trailer. The kids played in the water in a little cove by our site and had a blast. One night I attempted some star photos — definitely a work in progress, but I got a few accidental photos that I ended up loving. We made smores and hung out around the camp fire. Like I said, this was the perfect way to end one fabulous trip.

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Out Dolores’ Door: Bogan Flats Campground

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Luke had fun creating this “look” for EmJ. She was such a good sport about it. Ha!

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I didn’t forget about part 3 of our awesome camping trip — don’t worry! After Durango, we took the incredibly beautiful drive along Million Dollar Highway. Our drive consisted of 3 mountain passes along one of the most gorgeous roads in all of the land. For real. If you ever have the chance, drive this road. Our destination for this leg was Ridgway State Park where we had full hook-ups. This means SHOWERS. Can I get a hallelujah?! That was wonderful. Before we showered, however, we walked down to the ponds and did some fishing. We all caught fish and both kids did it all on their own — casting, setting the hook, and bringing ’em in. It was a really fun afternoon. EmJ even caught a crawdad! We kept some fish to cook the next evening over the fire. This is something both Jeff and I did as kids, so we wanted to make sure our kiddos had that experience too. Later that afternoon, Jeff also caught a fish on the Uncompahgre River, which was super rad. The next day we went into Ouray — affectionately known as “The Switzerland of America.” There really aren’t words — just put it on your bucket list. We played in the hot springs pools, ate lunch at a local place called Maggie’s (a definite must if you are in Ouray and like amazing burgers), had a beer and played eye-spy on the rooftop of a bar, and grabbed some groceries. On the way back to camp, we stopped at this delicious homemade ice cream shop, of course. That night, Jeff got the fish ready and cooked them over the fire. EmJ was a little stressed about it because she thought she had to eat the whole fish (carcass and eyeballs included), but once we told her she just needed to eat the meat, she was much happier. They were so tasty! I have a few pictures from my big girl camera, but this post is almost all cell phone pictures. Here we go!

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Out Dolores’ Door: Ridgway State Park

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This girl adores this sweet dog.

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A little shadow play!

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Below are all the cell pictures from this leg!

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Just a few glimpses into the beauty of the drive over Million Dollar Highway.

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This is Red Mountain Pass — one of my favorite parts of the drive. As a kid, we drove this road to Durango to visit my grandparents, so it has some really cool memories for me too.

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She was SO proud of this crawdad. She saw it and baited it all herself!

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Who doesn’t like a swing-chair?!

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Typical Luke. Ha!

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So yummy!

Part 4 coming soon(er than this one!)

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Part 2 of our camping trip, as promised! We drove to Durango the next day and stayed at a campground called Junction Creek Campground. This campground was so beautiful, never mind the crazy bumpy dirt road that led up to it (that the kids affectionately named “Dad’s Favorite Road”). We had two big things planned for Durango: White Water Rafting on the Lower Animas River and visiting Mesa Verde National Park. I didn’t take my big girl camera with me on either of those adventures, but I will share some cell phone pictures. Before that, here are some fun shots of us at camp the night EmJ and Luke built the fire all by themselves!

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Out Dolores’ Door – Junction Creek Campground, Durango, CO

maren miller photography | camping photography | southern colorado | durangoPINmaren miller photography | camping photography | southern colorado | durangoPINmaren miller photography | camping photography | southern colorado | durangoPINmaren miller photography | camping photography | southern colorado | durangoPINmaren miller photography | camping photography | southern colorado | durangoPINmaren miller photography | camping photography | southern colorado | durangoPINHere begins the cell phone pictures of this part of our adventure!PINEarl and Dolores

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Pre-rafting! Our rafting trip was super fun – it was “family friendly,” so not too rough, but we all had a blast. This was the first time for the kids and we kept it a secret until the morning we went. They LOVED it!

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Mesa Verde! We got to do two different tours of the Cliff Dwellings while we were there. This is at the beginning of the Balcony House tour. There is a pretty tight tunnel to crawl through on this tour… my favorite part was watching Jeff crawl through it. Sorry, no photos or videos of that – I laughed hysterically, but I didn’t take video. Ha! Love you, babe! There was also a ladder we had to climb for this tour that was about 3 stories high. It was pretty awesome!

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This and all the rest of the Mesa Verde pictures were from the Cliff Palace tour. This place was incredible and if you ever have a chance, absolutely go!

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Luke, the master photo-bomber.

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Of course ice cream was necessary after Mesa Verde!

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Coming soon… part 3: Million Dollar Highway, Ouray, and Ridgway State Park!

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  • July 13, 2017 - 3:02 pm

    Corrie B - Your family is THE cutest! And I LOVE cell phone photos. I’m SO glad you got to take this amazing trip!ReplyCancel

  • July 17, 2017 - 11:33 pm

    Joshua Baruch - The name for this area is quite matter of fact.Summer in Colorado equals time to get outdoors and enjoy all that the Centennial State has to offer.Nice blog.Thank you for sharing this post!!ReplyCancel

Hi friends! If you know our family, you know we’re a tad obsessed with camping. This is our second season with Dolores, our camper, and we knew we wanted to take at least one long trip with her per season. This year we decided on a trip to southern Colorado. Our first stop was San Luis State Wildlife Area – mainly to go see Great Sand Dunes National Park. Each year from mid-May to early June, Medano Creek reaches its peak flow. It’s basically pure snow melt that makes a river at the base of the dunes. We researched like crazy to make sure we would be there for it and we did it! To say we had a blast would be quite the understatement. Let’s get on with the camping and playing pictures!

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I started a new “tradition” on this trip that I fondly call “Out Dolores’ Door” – basically, I’m taking a photo out the door of our camper at each spot. This was the first one at San Luis State Wildlife Area. I wish I would have done this from trip #1 in Dolores, but I’ll continue it for sure. Clearly, our view was incredible.

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maren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINAfter we arrived and set up, we thought it’d be fun to drive over to the Sand Dunes to just check it out. We were already planning on playing there the next day, but we had time, so off we went. The kids immediately got to playing in the *freezing cold (ahem, snow melt)* water and loved every second of it!

maren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINAfter playing at the Sand Dunes, we headed back to camp and enjoyed a really amazing sunset. God is so rad.maren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINThe next morning we were up early and off to explore Great Sand Dunes National Park! We climbed dunes (ask us about Atticus’ adventure before we even started… it’ll make you laugh for sure!), rolled down dunes, made sand angels, and enjoyed the view. After that, lots of playing in the river (Medano Creek). EmJ and Luke loved the “Colorado beach!” maren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINLook! We were there too! 🙂maren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINI think this was EmJ’s favorite memory from the whole trip — “burying myself in sand.” Love this girl. maren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINmaren miller photography | great sand dunes national park | camping photographyPINLuke entertained himself for so long in the creek — throwing mud, running, jumping, and splashing.

Up next… Part 2: Durango!

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  • July 13, 2017 - 3:11 pm

    Corrie B - Ok, so I looked at these in reverse order, 3, 2 then this one. And HOLY COW MAREN!!!!!!!!!!! I cried! You are SOOOOOOOO talented. Every single photo, I was like, WHAT!? Seriously. The dog with the flag and the sunset with the camper light typing it all together!? I can’t. The kids in their full element just playing and being kids? They are SO lucky to get to just be themselves. My heart is exploding ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE! AH!
    Ok, I’m gonna go look at them again.
    Ok I looked at them again. I freaking can’t.
    EmJ’s face buried in the sand made me cry. Luke and EmJ playing in the river together, the one where they are in it and just laughing so much!
    Maren, seriously. These are so amazing. You’re so good at this game.ReplyCancel

Marriage is rad.

There, I said it. It almost feels a little dangerous to say such a thing out loud. We live in a world that often tells us the exact opposite of this. But, I’m here to say how I feel about it because I truly believe that marriage is – and can be – incredible. If you’ve talked with me about anything deep, you probably already know my heart for marriage. It is something I am passionate about, something that I believe in deep into my bones.

Listen, I know that marriage is work. Everyone preaches that from the second you get engaged — and rightfully so. But my favorite part about the “work” in marriage is that a lot of it is really fun! I also know (I’m no expert, by any means, but we do have 13 years under our belt… so that’s somethin’) that marriage will always have its ups and downs – just like anything in life. I just feel so moved by marriage. My good friend calls it something for the brave and I just love that. Marriage is absolutely for the brave. For the courageous and the joyful and the vulnerable. It is something to be celebrated. I believe it can be a source of immense joy. And that is something I will always defend.

These two. Being able to spend an evening with them and get a little glimpse into their marriage and their life was so lovely. The way they just are together is something that is hard to put into words. They were cooking together in their kitchen and the way they would move seamlessly around each other was so comforting. The little touches or the slight glances between them were so real and so raw. I felt honored that they allowed me into their home to tell the story of a typical evening in their lives. Lots of good, home-cooked food, friends, and lots of laughter.

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