Hi everybody! Office pup Penny Lane here taking over the Matrix Partners blog to tell you more about my recent road trip to Colorado with my mom and grandpa (papa) and to share some helpful tips for traveling with pets.

My mom wanted to ensure a smooth trip and that I didn’t get too homesick; since I don’t have opposable thumbs, it was her responsibility to make sure all of the essentials were packed:

  • Food ✓
  • Bowls for food and water ✓
  • Bed and blankie ✓
  • Stuffed animals and toys ✓
  • And most importantly:

I love car rides, but the longest trip I had taken prior to this was only four hours, so my mom was a bit nervous about the 14 ½ hour trek. Of course it should come as no surprise that I was an angel the whole drive.

PL1

We split the trip up into two days by staying overnight in Grand Island, Nebraska. We stopped every few hours or so for bathroom breaks and to stretch our legs. My mom also made sure that I was getting plenty of water.

Day two, we woke up bright and early to continue on to Boulder, but not without stopping by some stalks of hay that resembled a giant cow first. What can I say? My mom’s a sucker for a great photo op. Little did I know just how many great photo ops we were about to encounter…

PL2

After another half day of driving, we finally made it to beautiful Boulder! I could see the Flatirons in the distance as I stuck my head out the window and the rush of new smells excited me. I was ready to explore!

PL3

We went Garden of the Gods, where, as you can see from the photo, the rock formations were absolutely breathtaking. Here, we took a 4-mile roundtrip hike that led us to the striking Siamese Twins formation. After that, we drove to Seven Falls. A quick one-mile hike surrounded by creeks and lots of greenery led us to a series of seven cascading waterfalls. I didn’t get to go to the top because that required 224 narrow steps on a staircase, so we took the elevator to enjoy the view from above.

The next day we visited Red Rocks Amphitheater, one of my mom’s favorite concert venues and now I know why.  Surrounded by giant red rocks (shocker) on both sides, you can see the city of Denver in the backdrop. We took a short hike here too and enjoyed the peaceful and quiet sound of nature.

On our last full day, we visited Rocky Mountain National Park. Located right outside of Estes Park, a lot of the sightseeing here was spent in the car. We drove 12,000+ feet above sea level(!), and made stops along the way, getting out for great photo opps and unbelieveable views. Some of the mountains even still had snow on them!

Before heading home, we went to Chautauqua Park Trailhead for one last hike up the base of the Flatirons. A mile-long walk on a super steep road led to the base of the trailhead. It was very hot so we didn’t go much further than that. My mom didn’t want to push me.

PL7

Throughout the trip, our days were filled with non-stop, on-the-go adventure and to ensure that we had the safest and best time possible, my mom put some rules in place:

1. Leash on at all times. My mom didn’t want to risk me running off and becoming lost in an unfamiliar place, so anytime we weren’t at the hotel, I was her “leashed child.”

2. Stay on the path trails. This goes along with #1. But also, did you guys know there are snakes, bears, coyotes and other wildlife in Colorado?! Luckily we didn’t see any but this was another reason why I had to stay close to my mom at all times.

3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. This was especially important since we were hiking in a much higher altitude than I’m used to and temperatures that were hot and sunny. Thanks to whoever invented the collapsible bowls because they are awesome! Lightweight and easy to carry, I was able to stay hydrated all throughout our long hikes.

4. Don’t overdo it. If at anytime during our hikes my mom thought I was getting tired, we’d stop and take a break. Mom would let me lie in the shade for a bit and made sure I had plenty of water before continuing our hike.

5. Eat. I’m not one to ever miss a meal and the long hikes we went on definitely made me work up an appetite. My mom made sure that I ate a full breakfast and dinner, with plenty of healthy treats in between to stay energized.

6. Relax. I had never been so excited to lie on my bed as I was when we would return to our hotel room after a long day’s adventure. It was important that I got lots of rest to make sure that I was ready for a new day of exploring

To say that I had a trip of a lifetime is an understatement. I now know why my mom loves Colorado so much. Everything about it is magical – the sites, the scenery, the wildlife, the friendly people. Although I was sad that our trip had to come to an end, I was grateful for the amazing experience and am thankful that I can officially check it off my bucket list!

Happy tails to you!

Penny Lane