Friday, August 07, 2015

Holiday World

We spent one day in Indiana at Holiday World. I knew the kids would like it, but I didn't realize how MUCH they would love it. The first roller coaster we rode was a doozy. That was enough for me for the day! I stuck to water rides.

I didn't take many photos at the park. Once we started in the waterpark, the phone went in the locker. We arrived when the main park opened and rode a few rides before the water park opened.

If you are going to do the waterpark, I recommend arriving wearing your swimwear. You really don't need a towel - you won't be carrying it around with you. You dry as you go and have one towel to share at the end of the day. 

You can't bring any food or drinks into the park. Drinks (water, soft drinks, lemonade) and sunscreen are free.

The food is typical expensive park food. The kids had a lot of fun at the water park. Charlie & Ella loved the rough water rides. Greta preferred to hang with Grandpa in the wave pool. 

The water park lines were super long. After a 45 minute wait at a ride, the kids gave up & headed back to the amusement park. You have to be dry & wearing clothes to get back on the rides.

It was the right choice - no one was in the amusement park & they kept running onto the rides. I think they rode more rides in the last hour than they did the rest of the day.

We spent 6 hours in the park & the kids would have stayed longer. They declared it better/bigger than Elitch Gardens in Denver. Neither park is cheap (especially when you multiply admission by 4). We stopped by Wendy's on the way home & found good coupons for Holiday World - we will have to remember that for next time! 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Indiana Summers

When our kids talk about their summer highlights, Indiana is always at the top of the list. They get some funny looks. That's ok, we will just leave it as our secret.
We spent our days at gymnastics camp,
soccer camp,

and in the pool (though I worked more than I anticipated).

We visited with Grandma's sister.
The kids went non-stop down Grandpa's slide

though the kids did take a break to use the diving board too. We have lots of grumpy Charlie pictures this summer.
We took lots of turns on the tractor and went on a nice long hike along the creek.

We found a turtle and moved him off Grandpa's driveway.
We tried gooseberries (sour!) and laughed when the Amish lady encouraged us to find recipes to use them on the Internet.

Ella's cookies were much better than the gooseberries!
We explored the Farmer's Market and did A LOT of back to school shopping. Thank goodness for extra suitcases and bags fly free!
The kids just keep growing. I think Ella needed an entirely new wardrobe. 

We had an ice cream sundae bar

played with friends 

and took lots of walks.
We would have preferred more sunny days, but we still enjoyed our visit this year.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Manitou Incline

I went on another "hike" recently. I think it's really half challenge half hike.

It was WAY to cold and rainy to sit by the pool as we planned so we decided to tackle the mountain. This is the start of the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs (on the left). Doesn't look too bad from the bottom! The photo on the right is somewhere in the middle of the hike. It was so rainy, we didn't get our phones out much during the incline.

Our friend, who is in excellent shape, said she did the incline in 30 minutes. I think she is mistaken. World class athletes can do it in 25 minutes. I am sure she was fast, but I would plan on an hour to an hour and a half if you have a regular cardio routine (and up to 2.5 hours for then average hiker). We were passed a fair amount along the way up. I'd like to think all of those people were in the Air Force Academy or from the nearby Olympic Training Center. Though, most of the hikers looked like regular people who have done the trail before.

This is the top. Not much of a view! The incline rises 2000 feet over less than a mile. It doesn't sound like much, but my heart was beating out of my chest before too long.

It was too slippery for us to even consider taking the stairs back down. My recently broken foot has made me very cautious. The trail down is about 4 miles on a fairly well marked path.

We had some pretty views along the way down.

We weren't expecting the way down to be so long, but there were a fair amount of switchbacks. 

I think I was delirious at this point. These rocks looked so beautiful in my mind.

Here's the train for Pike's Peak that we took last year. I thought I had blogged about that journey, but maybe not.

It took us about 3 hours to do the round trip journey. I think under better conditions, we would have been faster. I'd like to come back in a year after I've rejoined my regular cardio routine to see if I could get a better time. 
Colorado Springs has so many interesting sites. I'm never disappointed with my visit to the area.

Friday, July 03, 2015

St. Mary's Glacier

I have my own Summer Bucket List. It doesn't have a lot of items on it, but one thing I really wanted to do was hike this summer. I thought maybe my hike at Mt. St. Helens would be all that I would do given the kids schedule this year. I was very happy that twins & I were able to join the boy scout hiking group this month. 
We visited St. Mary's Glacier near Idaho Springs. It took just under an hour and thirty minutes to arrive at the trailhead. The parking lot was a few miles past where Siri thought it was. You can't miss it along the main road. Be sure to bring $5 for parking. The entire hike is loose rocks so that was a challenge for me & my recovering foot.

We took our first water break about half way up. It was steep & the elevation is high, but even the four year old in our group made it. I was hoping the trail followed this nice somewhat flat path.

But, instead, you continue up!

It took us about 40 minutes to reach the lake - it's a great hike for beginners. Rocky was especially glad to see the water. He's never been a fan of swimming, but I think he would have tried today if he had been off leash.

The view at the lake is very beautiful. The lake is formed from the glacier run off. I tried to find information about this glacier. I always thought that a glacier accumulates snow & ice faster than it melts and that a glacier is always moving. But, wikipedia says this is a semi-permanent snow peak which sounds inconsistent with a "glacier". 

The kids had fun scrambling over the rocks & enjoying the area.

As we kept walking, the view kept improving.

As you can see, like everywhere I've been in Colorado, you are never alone. Greta & I stopped here for a while. 

Charlie's enthusiasm had faded.

Greta, Rocky & I wanted to touch the snow! Rocky really wanted to run & play with the other dogs.

The view was so amazing!

The rest of our group (less the 4 year old & his mom) kept going up the peak. But, I didn't trust my foot on the snow or loose rocks with Rocky. Next time!

Eventually, we coaxed Charlie into the snow.

The way down was not too bad. It took us about 30 minutes to get back to the parking lot. We left the trailhead about 9 & had no problem with parking. When we got back to our car at 10:30, the lot was totally full. Arrive early & enjoy.
May your holiday weekend be filled with great adventures!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Celebrate Sunshine!

The past three weeks have been unusually rainy so we are welcoming every blue sky we see.

Reading: Code Name Verity - historical fiction, but young adult so it's a fun, fast read (me), Bedknobs & Broomsticks (Charlie), The Eighth Day (Ella after Charlie), Penelope Crumb (Greta). Hello summer reading challenge.

Eating: lots of watermelon and yogurt 

Dreaming: of beaches (adventure soon awaits!)

Packing: for overnight camp - it's coming up soon

Planning: Fourth of July celebrations and camping plans

Training: for the kids mini triathlon. swimming often & planning a long bike ride

Trapping: lots of flies. Rocky likes to stretch on our back screen & we haven't fixed all the big holes yet.

Remembering: all the adventures on our recent trip to Indiana 

Watching: Inside Out 

Celebrating: a weekend regained - Ella opted out of a gymnastics meet this weekend so we have two days to relax and regroup after Indiana.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mount Saint Helens

Summer travel is in full swing. My first noteworthy stop was Portland, Oregon for my annual work retreat. While downtown Portland was great, I was surprised how much I enjoyed our day trip to Mt. St. Helens.

We all packed plenty of reading material for our two hour journey, but we didn't need it. Our vans were driven by two very knowledgeable drivers who narrated our whole trip.

We learned that most of Portland has been retrofitted to withstand an earthquake over 6.8. Though, none of the many bridges in the city would survive. We learned that in Portland, like many cities, people built beautiful homes with a view on the foothills. But, the foothills are thick beds of silt which are vulnerable to slides. 
The beautiful beaches along the Oregon coast are covered in volcanic ash.  I learned that the mountain used to have a normal peak that blew off when the volcano erupted. When Mt. St. Helens erupted, the glaciers inside the volcano melted and sent 46 billion gallons of water rushing away from the mountain.

We had about 2 hours to explore the visitor's center and surrounding hiking trails. The area is a National Park - so don't forget your parks pass.

The view looked like a mix between walking on the moon and walking through beautiful mountain fields.

The purple flowers were the first to return after the the devastation. The flowers brought nitrogen to the soil and animals back into the valley.
It was fascinating to see all the tree stumps where trees were just knocked over.

The downed trees on private land were taken to California to special mills which were retrofitted to cut these trees with embedded rocks. The trees on BLM land were left as-is.

While the towns in the projected lava/mud flow were evacuated, no one predicted that the volcano would have a lateral blast too. Most of the fatalities were people caught by the lateral blast. 

After a picnic lunch and a lovely hike along a deceivingly hilly trail, it was time to head back to Oregon. We left a little dusty and tired, but with a new found appreciation for volcanoes and geologists.

Not a bad first hike of the summer season!