The Rocky Mountains, Red Rocks, and Brother John

We spent today exploring a tiny piece of Colorado.  It was a huge blessing to begin our family journey with 8 a.m. Mass and meet up with Brother John Ignatius, a dear friend of ours.  Brother John founded a religious order, the Servants of Christ Jesus eight years ago.  Even more years ago, like 16 or so, Brother John worked at Brian's high school and played an instrumental role in helping Brian return to the Faith.  Through God's planning, he then took up working at Franciscan while Brian and I were both at school there.  He stood up in our wedding and we hadn't seen him in six years until this trip.  Next year, God willing and with the new bishop's blessing, he will be ordained a priest.  It was wonderful to be able to spend the day with him and meet the other brothers.  They treated us to both a homemade breakfast and dinner and in between Brother John took us up Mount Evans and then to Red Rocks.

 Summit Lake near the peak of Mount Evans

The drive up is terrifying for an acrophobe like me.  But with knuckles white on the wheel, I did it.  I'd actually been up this mountain once before with my host family when I was interning at a parish in Littleton.  It brought back some cool memories driving up.  The views are breathtaking.

Ice cold clean water

John Paul couldn't wait to explore on his own a bit.

I'm so glad these two got a chance to catch up.  It had been way too long.

Showing David the ice

Mountaintop snowball fight!

Then off to Red Rocks...

It was hot hot hot.  But gorgeous.  After being up so late and barely sleeping the night before and getting used to the thin air, the 1.6 mile hike felt like ten.

I'd also visited Red Rocks with my fellow rockstar interns back in the college days and it was awesome to go back. 

The gigantic slabs of red rock are stunning and in the middle of the park form a natural amphitheater where all sorts of famous people play.  I'm pretty sure we saw an Irish dancing thing and/or maybe celebrated Mass here when we were here back in the day.  I have no idea why those two things would be put together so perhaps my memory is a bit shaky on that one... 

Train was playing that night and because they were setting up we didn't go in the amphitheater, sticking  with just the hike.

An attempt at a family picture.  Luke is hiding and someone on the left was getting a wee bit tired and whiny.

Brother John was such a trooper even carrying Michael for the last torturous part of the hike.  It was pretty cool getting to see him hang out with our boys.

Finally allowed to climb

 For being ridiculously deprived of sleep and jet lagged and getting used to the mountain air, I have to say our boys did pretty well.

Did I mention the last part of that hike was rough?  It was rough.  And exhausting.  And beautiful.

But we almost caught a lizard so that sort of made up for it.  And there were cacti growing along the path which is pretty cool if you ask me.

The end of the day brought us back to the brothers' house where the boys acted like rabid caged monkeys on speed.  We then ate a wonderful dinner, packed up the car and set off for the drive north.


  1. It is so nice to see Brian and Brother John together. It has been so long. All of you look like the trip is agreeing with you. Have you gotten to see the stars? Can't wait to hear more stories and see more pictures. Hugs to all.
    Grandma & Grumpy

  2. Wow, what a beautiful place!! I would have been absolutely petrified on that drive up the mountain. You are very brave. You guys are making some great memories!

  3. Oh my gosh, I am obsessed at looking through these posts! I am so so so happy for your family vacation and that your boys are experiencing the west. What fantastic parents you guys are! We def. did see an irish concert at Red Rocks, however, at least to my best recollection although there was talk of a Mass there, I am not sure it happened while we were there. Or, maybe it did, but I just didn't go. Not sure. The pictures are awesome and the stories great! Oh, what fun we had during our short summer there huh? Live it up!

  4. So awesome. Man. *runs to plan family vacation stat*


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