When I moved from a Los Angeles suburb to Colorado, I didn’t look back.  Now that I have crisp mountain air instead of smog, mountains instead of buildings, and an abundance of wildlife instead of people.. I couldn’t imagine living my life any other way.

My family is just as appreciative of this lifestyle, and return home from their visits feeling refreshed. This weekend’s visit was no different! They flew into Denver International Airport on Friday night and weren’t leaving until the following Tuesday so I knew that we would have to get some mountain time in. Being from sea level and not nearly as active as Ryan and I, I felt that the hike to Dream and Emerald lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park would be enjoyable and scenic for everyone. We started our day with a delicious and hearty breakfast at Notch Top Café in Estes Park, and headed to the mountains.

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The weather was gloomy; I always worry about the comfort of my family when it’s cool out since they are used to the constant hot weather of southern California. With light jackets and rain jackets that Ryan and I provided them, we hit the trail and soon our bodies warmed up to a sufficient temperature. The random spitting rain combined with quick bursts of sunlight made for an interesting adventure filled with lots of laughs as we took cover under the trees along the way.

I had never photographed stormy or foggy landscapes before and thoroughly enjoyed myself attempting to capture the beautiful scenery before me. The random bursts of sunlight offered me a nice natural light to illuminate my subjects, making photo taking easier as I did not have to fuss with too many settings to get the lighting right.

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What would a trip to the mountains be without some fishing? Ryan and I hiked up here last summer and he was mesmerized by the slow moving trout just below the surface of these shallow lakes, and he knew that this was his opportunity to catch one. Using nymphs (RS2 and a Copper John), Ryan got his first hit; and it hit HARD! The smaller Brook Trout down around Boulder are much less aggressive, which led Ryan to be taken aback with the fight in this fish. While attempting to grab the wriggling fish, it slipped off the hook and sped off deeper into the lake. My family and a few passing hikers were all riled up with the hit and fight, and with renewed determination Ryan began stalking his next fish.

Luckily, when the next fish hit just as hard as the last, Ryan was ready and skillfully got him in. Not only was it a beautiful Cutthroat Trout.. but it was Ryan’s first Cutthroat! I took his picture with his catch before he gave it it’s good luck kiss and placed it back into the lake to enjoy the rest of it’s happy little trout life.

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A great trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, as usual. We stopped at a nearby picnic area for lunch then headed to Hailey’s in Estes Park for some ice cream before making the drive back home. It was a great day spent in the mountains, and was made even better by having my family by my side.

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